|Brad Ralph (Credit: Steve Conner/Idaho Steelheads)
“This is a fabulous town with great fans and I’m grateful to continue coaching for a first-class organization,” Ralph said in a team press release. “I’ve already started working on next year’s team and my sights, as always, are on bringing the Kelly Cup home to Boise.”
Ralph came to the Steelheads in the 2012-13 season after two season as the head coach of the SPHL's Augusta RiverHawks. In his two seasons as Steelheads coach, the team has continued a strong tradition of postseason excellence, making the playoffs in both seasons.
He has had a knack for picking up players and developing them into top performers at the ECHL level. The team's MVP, Brett Robinson, was played second line minutes in the CHL last season. This year he had 37 points in 47 regular season games and eight points in 11 playoff contests.
David deKastrozza was another gem pickup. At the start of the 2012-13 season, deKastrozza was cut by the Trenton Titans before the season began. Ralph signed deKastrozza and the right winger has had the two best seasons of his career in Boise since then, totaling 78 regular season points in 134 games and 17 playoffs points in 27 postseason games. Of course, that's not to mention Justin Dowling, who Ralph brought in to start the 2012-13 season and is now on an NHL contract.
Ralph's signing is good news for the Texas Stars. With uncertainty around the future of Coach Willie Desjardins in the Stars organization, having a coach like Ralph in the system could provide a good choice for the Stars assistant coach position, as he is already familiar with the team's systems and many of the players. It's not for certain that he would be interested, but it's better to have a coach like Ralph staying in the system than leaving to go elsewhere.