Thursday, July 3, 2014

Coach Derek Laxdal Excited About New Challenge with Texas Stars

Derek Laxdal with the Edmonton Oil Kings (Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett)
Coach Derek Laxdal is a busy man. After he flew back to Edmonton today, I managed to catch up with him briefly this afternoon. His next few weeks are looking hectic. He will be in Frisco for development camp the 10th and 11th and then will head to Austin to start looking for housing.

On the move in general:
"You're going from a really good situation to another really good situation. It's bittersweet sometimes. We've had some great years here but you have to challenge yourself. It's time to go do it."
On the process of the hire:
"You hear all the rumors at the end of the year. Once Willie moved on, there's a process involved where teams get in touch with you. I wasn't out looking for the job but Dallas did their due diligence looking for a coach. I interviewed at the draft, and I went yesterday to meet with Jim Nill and struck a [three-year] deal.
"I left a good situation here, but it felt right. Jim Nill made me feel really comfortable and welcome. I have a relationship with Scott White from being affiliated and Les Jackson. It was pretty easy to figure out what I needed to do."
On leaving Idaho for Edmonton and the initial hiring in Texas:
"In Idaho, I had a good situation. I was in the running with Glen and they went with him. He had a very good first couple of years in Texas and went to the NHL. 
"For myself, it was a matter of going through the process to become a better coach. I left to go to the WHL because I've always had a passion to coach in the WHL. I went into a great situation. We won the championship twice and won the Memorial Cup as well. We were very fortunate and lucky to do some of the things we did. It made me a better coach in the long run and I will take what I learned here and hope to bring that knowledge to Texas."
 On Jim Nill's role in attracting top talent to the organization:
"He's bringing a confidence and leadership skills from Detroit that he has honed over the years with his experiences. We've seen the work that he's done here and I feel really comfortable going with him through this process. You can really see that he's going to be an important part of the success in Dallas. You can really see that your success comes from your leadership, and he's got great leadership skills."
On the pressure of coming in as a defending Calder Cup team:
"There's always pressure in coaching. You have to believe in what you do and that you're doing it right. You think you've got pressure, come coach a junior hockey club in Edmonton. There's pressure there! You have to handle that because it's your job."
On his time with Wichita and Odessa playing and coaching against Austin IceBats:
"It was an old barn there. They've got a great setup there now. They have great fan support and it's one of the best places to coach in the AHL. It's a great AHL market, and it's a great farm team for the Dallas Stars. In Austin, [Dallas has] their pulse on the team, and they know exactly what's going on. They have a great model and a lot of great prospects coming through. It's only going to get better."
 On whether he will still be coaching Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Europe in August:
"It's off the table now, and I just have to confirm that with Hockey Canada. I've just got so much going on with moving and all that, so it would be really tough to do that."
On his coaching style:
"I'm a coach that plays structure and details. We're a team that plays defense first but isn't trapping. We defend well but when we have the puck we're going to go on offense, a little bit like Willie. He played a high tempo game. They were detailed and structured and hard to play against. My style should fit in well going into Texas."

1 comment:

  1. I know him from those Odessa days. I'm okay with the hire but not sure Willie really played "defense first", I've seen a lot of defense first hockey and never seen them pull off 40+ shots on a regular basis. I guess my concerns are his style might actually not be the "best" fit for this team. We have some pretty high flying youngsters here and some more on the way, nothing like that disciplined bunch of aged veterans in year one.

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