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Head Coach Dean Chynoweth speaks out about new AHL affiliation

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May 25, 2015


The Avalanche parted ways with the Lake Erie Monsters this summer, taking on a new AHL affiliate in the San Antonio Rampage. When affiliations change like this, it’s natural to wonder what happens to the team personnel. In short, those who are part of the Avalanche organization (i.e., coaches, draft picks, free agents contracted with the Avs) are headed to Texas to become the Rampage.

Dan Weiss of the Rampage spoke with head coach Dean Chynoweth recently about the transition from Lake Erie to San Antonio, as well as the expectations the coach has for the Rampage. Here are few highlights from the interview:

About playing in San Antonio:

“Anytime you come in the middle of of the season down south, the weather is the first thing the players talk about. The one thing we always talked about in this building was the humidity and making sure that guys were eating properly and getting fluids into their body and making sure they were ready for the game come game time.”

About the fans:

“Well, the one thing we were fortunate in Cleveland, we had very good weekend crowds with the way they promoted it, and we knew the same (thing happened) here . . . Great environment. Our players always talked about it.”

About moving:

“(I talked) quite a bit with (Rampage coaches Scott Allen) and Tom (Rowe) . . . Those guys are extremely sad right now to be leaving because unfortunately when affiliations move, you have to move with your affiliation, and I know they both loved it here.

We were fortunate on the last trip to have a few days off . . . Tom had given us some areas to look for housing . . . (Assistant coach Randy Ladouceur) and I took that full day off and kind of toured the city. It’s a beautiful spot.”

About post-season challenges:

“At any level injuries are going to play a key part of things . . . At the NHL level, it’s not affecting your top guys unless they’re injured. At this level, what affects your top guys is . . . not the injury but if there’s a call up. And now all of a sudden, you see the depth of your organization, and you have to bring these young guys along maybe quicker than they’re ready for.

We’ve had extremely young teams the last three years in Cleveland. I’m proud of where we got them to by the end of the season in the sense of our competitiveness, but any time you fall short of the playoffs, to me, it’s a disappointment. So we still have a lot of room to grow in that area. I really liked how we played last year, the last 2½, 3 months of the season. We more or less ran out of time.”

About the Avalanche philosophy:

“You have to win to develop. You can’t just develop. If you just develop and never win, then they’re missing out on the experiences of playoffs. They’re missing out of the competitiveness and the challenge to get in a playoff, to go on a playoff run.

So with (Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy) coming in, the focus has been on, look, our players, yes they gotta play, but they have to earn it. They’ve got to earn the right to put on that jersey. They’ve got to earn the right to be in the lineup every night . . . It’s made an extremely competitive environment.”

About the roster:

“We hope to have the majority of the (same) roster. Obviously at pro hockey there’s contracts that expire, guys that need to be qualified, restricted free agents, unrestricted free agents, but for the most part, when I map out the lineup, we’ll be very similar to last year with a few additions.”

About the style of play:

“I’m a big believer that you have to play with pace, so you got to have tempo to your game. So you gotta be able to skate . . . You also have to have some size and compete to be able to battle in the dirty areas and be able to get to the net to score goals or win your battles down low, and I’ve seen an improvement with our group over the last couple of years with that.”


See the full interview here:



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