Former and current Warriors share memories
Mike Stothers might be leaving Moose Jaw, but he left a lasting impression with all his players.
© Katie Brickman
Moose Jaw Warriors head coach Mike Stothers uses a whiteboard to give directions to the players during the rookie practice at Mosaic Place last season. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
“He had a huge influence on my career. He is one of the reasons, if not the reason, I that I got a pro opportunity when I did,” said Kendall McFaull, former Moose Jaw Warriors captain. “He was probably the fairest coach I ever had. He was reasonable and treated us like professionals. I think that’s why the guys responded to him so well.”
The Warriors held a press conference on Thursday morning, announcing that Stothers was named the new head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
Former and current Warrior players are back in town for the fifth annual K+S Potash Canada alumni golf tournament this weekend.
Many of the current players, like Tanner Eberle, were shocked to hear of Stothers moving on, but were grateful for what he helped them accomplish.
“Stutts coached my whole WHL career so far. He is everything to me and got me to where I am today. I came into the league a pretty immature player and I feel like he has really developed me and turned me more into a man,” Eberle said of Stothers.
Stothers was a fiery and abrasive coach that had high expectations of his team. He could often been heard shouting at his players during practices and games.
“Stutts yelled a lot, but he got through to us. I am going to miss that, for sure,” said Eberle.
The duo of Eberle and Stothers had a give and take relationship over their three years together on the Warriors.
“I am going to miss that relationship,” said Eberle. “Stutts and I liked to bicker back and forth at each other.”
Stothers was heavily involved in the local community, including helping with charities as well as getting all the players situated with billet families.
When the Warriors made a trade for Jack Rodewald last season, it was Stothers that made him feel comfortable with the changes.
“I think he did a lot for me. I really enjoyed coming in and having him as a coach. I learned a lot from him,” said Rodewald. “He was really open off the bat with me. We had a couple conversations prior to my first skate even, which was nice.”
Throughout the three years that Stothers was behind the bench, there have been five players graduate to the pro level, including Morgan Rielly with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I have always enjoyed playing for him and I know that he enjoyed coaching here,” said Rielly. “He had a great opportunity to jump to pro and coach there. I think he had to take it. I am quite happy for him and hopefully he does well.”
The Warriors have not named a new coach and Alan Millar, general manager said there is no timeframe for the hire, but interest has been high so far.
“We know that Alan is going to pick a good coach,” said Eberle. “All we can really do is wait. As soon as we know which guy it is, we just have to come ready to camp and be ready to have a good season.”
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.