Former NHL’er settles in behind the bench

He has plenty of NHL experience but when it comes to coaching the game he played for a living, Trent Hunter is a rookie.

The Midget AAA Optimist Chiefs are the benefactors of Hunter’s years playing against the best players and he said the coaching staff, led by Doug Quinn have made the transition much easier than he expected.

“It was a little bit of a feeling out process, just kind of figuring out what to expect but it’s been great,” said Hunter who was drafted 150th overall in 1998 by Anaheim. “Getting out on the ice with the young kids, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Hunter said the current coaching staff has done great things with the program and he couldn’t find a better bunch to learn the coaching ropes from, but he does bring plenty to the party to teach these young players.

“I kind of prided myself through my career as being a thinker on the ice and figuring out things as I went. I was never the fastest guy,” he said. “You know, some little tricks along the wall. They’re just little things that helped me out through my career.”

Chiefs forward Ross Heidt said he appreciates all the information he can get from a player like Hunter when it comes to fore checking and burying pucks when you get the chance.

“He’s been around the game so you respect him, you give him the respect he deserves. You know he’s already been there.”

For the current roster of players Hunter is a great example of what hard work on and off the ice can produce having graduated from the Red Deer Minor Hockey system, playing with the Midget AAA’s under Brian Sutter.

“He really helped me make the jump to the next level and that’s what we’re trying to here is get these kids to the next level,” said Hunter.

Heidt added, “He’s a golden example of a guy who’s come up through this exact organization and made it to the NHL so for us it’s motivation.”

Apart from sharing his technical knowledge about the game Hunter said he’s yet to entertain the troops with any war stories from his battles in the NHL.

“Well I might have a few stories for the kids that will make them laugh,” he said. “I’m sure the coaches have heard more stories than the kids but you want to share as much as you can, anything that will help them out.”

Heidt added it would be great to hear from Hunter any stories he might have about his playing days but he would have one question in particular he’d want answered before the season is done.

“My main question would be who is the best player he played against and why that player was so hard to play against?”

As he gets his coaching legs under him Hunter said he’s more focused on this team’s immediate future when asked if a head coaching spot in the minor system at another age level might be on his radar.

“Well that might be a little far down the line right now. I’ve got a couple of young kids myself so I really enjoy watching them right now,” he said. “This is a great starting point for me and it’s just kind of letting me figure out if this is something I want to do. Time will tell but for now we’ll just take it one year at a time.”

sports@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

The Expo Wheel ride a no-go at Westerner Days

Red Deerians take in Westerner Days all week long

20,000 swarm to Westerner Days on day two

Westerner Days Fair & Exposition saw the community meet-up for Tim Hortons Kids Day

WATCH: Red Deer Airport’s Boot Scootin BBQ supports great cause

Airport hopes to donate $4,000+ to Aspire Special Needs

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff’s vehicles were also involved in the collision that closed down one lane

Red Deer entrepreneur looks to end stigma of mental health

Unparalleled Sports Wear helps support Canadian Mental Health Association

WATCH: Tune into What’s Up Wednesday

An overview of the week’s news in Red Deer

Four people taken by STARS to Edmonton

Blackfalds RCMP investigates single vehicle rollover south of Hwy 11A

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

UPDATED: Remains of all eight Bruce McArthur victims now identified, Toronto police say

McArthur worked as a landscaper and allegedly concealed the remains of several men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

UPDATED: Airdrie man charged after Taser-like weapons seized

Canadian Border and Airdrie RCMP charged a man after an attempt to bring the weapons into Canada

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

Most Read