Ryane Clowe’s all in with the New­found­land Growlers

ECHL team’s new coach more than passed muster in the in­ter­view process for the job

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Community Calendar - BY BREN­DAN MCCARTHY bren­[email protected]­gram.com Twit­ter: @tely­bren­dan

Ryane Clowe had to prove it wasn’t some sort of a lark, that he re­ally wanted the job.

The 35- year- old Fer­meuse na­tive was be­ing con­sid­ered by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the head coach of the New­found­land Growlers, the Maple Leafs’ news ECHL af­fil­i­ate. But Clowe had a sense the Leafs weren’t ab­so­lutely sure about him, that while most peo­ple might have thought his birth cer­tifi­cate made him a nat­u­ral fit for the Growlers, that in fact, it might have been like red flag for the folks rep­re­sent­ing the blue and white.

“I re­ally don’t think the Leafs put a lot of stock in me be­ing from here,” said Clowe, who was of­fi­cially in­tro­duced as the Growlers’ first coach Wed­nes­day morn­ing in St. John’s. “First and fore­most, they were look­ing for a coach, not a New­found­lan­der.

“I was think­ing maybe they didn’t know if I was re­ally se­ri­ous about this, that maybe they were con­cerned I was just in­ter­ested in com­ing home to hang out.”

And then there was the fact Clowe, who had spent the past two sea­sons as an as­sis­tant coach with the New Jersey Devils, would be leav­ing the NHL and ev­ery­thing it rep­re­sented … char­ter flights, big cities and top-notch venues.

“That was ac­tu­ally their first question,” re­called Clowe. ‘Do you re­ally want to do this?’ You’ve been in the NHL as a player or a coach for 15 years and you want this, the buses and the grind of travel, es­pe­cially with a team trav­el­ling out of New­found­land?”

“I told them I hadn’t played hockey for the life­style or money. Yes, I made good money, but that wasn’t the main rea­son why I played. And I told them money wasn’t the rea­son I wanted to coach.

“I didn’t need the money. I could have stayed in Florida, sat at on my ass, ex­cept when I wanted to play golf,” added Clowe, who made over $US40 mil­lion in a decade-long NHL play­ing ca­reer, one that was ended pre­ma­turely three years ago by con­cus­sions.

“I said I re­spect the game and the peo­ple I work with, and I think they be­gan to see how se­ri­ous I was about this.”

The clincher, feels Clowe, was when let it be known he would be mov­ing his fam­ily — his wife Jen­nifer, daugh­ter Wil­low and son Bodhi — from Florida, where they’d been liv­ing year­round, to St. John’s.

In other words, he wouldn’t be treat­ing this as a trial run.

“Once they found out that I in­tended on mov­ing my whole fam­ily from Florida, I think they re­ally knew, that they re­ally un­der­stood I wanted to coach … I think I proved that I wanted this job and that I wanted to do it well, that I just didn’t want to be a lo­cal guy who had been an NHL player com­ing home.”

Not that it had been an easy call.

“It was ac­tu­ally ag­o­niz­ing. In the first place. I loved New Jersey and work­ing for (Devils head coach) John Hynes. I cer­tainly wasn’t look­ing to leave, and on top of that, I was in line for a pro­mo­tion,” said Clowe, who could have been be­come Hynes’ lead as­sis­tant

Ge­off Ward, who held that job last year, had left to join Bill Peters’ staff with the Cal­gary Flames.

“I won’t say ( Hynes) was up­set, but it was clear he didn’t want me to leave. At the same time, he un­der­stood. I’m look­ing for a chance to de­velop as a head coach.

“I know the team has to do well. I have to per­form well at my job, but hope­fully, this is the start I need, a good start to my head coach­ing ca­reer.

“I think with it be­ing the Leafs and with kind of the or­ga­ni­za­tion you know Glen Stan­ford will have here, this was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity and I had to take it.”

Next up for Growlers is the hir­ing of an as­sis­tant coach and a start to the ink­ing of play­ers other than those who will be as­signed here by the Maple Leafs or­ga­ni­za­tion. Clowe will be in­volved in both these pro­cesses. In fact, Stan­ford, the Growlers’ CEO, said they had, in part, been wait­ing on Clowe of­fi­cially tak­ing over the job be­fore go­ing full-bore on those ef­forts.

To­wards that end, Stan­ford said an­nounce­ments on an as­sis­tant coach and the first play­ers for the New­found­land ros­ter should be com­ing in a week to 10 days.

JOE GIB­BONS / THE TELEGRAM

A happy Gen Clowe was on hand as her son Ryane was of­fi­cially named head coach of the ECHL’s New­found­land Growlers Tues­day in St. John’s. Be­ing able to con­tinue his pur­suit of his coach­ing ca­reer in his home prov­ince is a bonus for Clowe, but he made it clear this is much more than a case of a lo­cal boy com­ing back to his roots.

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