THE #ESHOW
THE #ESHOW

Episode 35 · 2 years ago

Team of the Week (Ducks) | Episode 35

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Terry Watt and the Protec Jr. Ducks will be kicking off their inaugural season on Monday, September 21st against the New York Apple Core. A former junior hockey player, Watt was the captain of the Walpole Express back when they had Chris Cerrella, the current Head Coach of the New Hampshire Avalanche, behind the bench. After juniors, Watt followed through with his NCAA Commitment to Buffalo State and then enjoyed a nine-year pro career. Shortly after calling it a career as a player, Watt jumped right into coaching, and it has now all come full circle for him to end up back in the spot that he benefited from the most during his playing days.

Welcome to the east show with Neil Raven with over onezero NCAA commitments, the ehl is the proven path to college. Turn it up and learn more about the college placement leader at the division two and three levels. Welcome to the east show presented by the penalty box foundation. The foundation's mission centers around their daily motto, we take care of our own as they help out all of those within the hockey community who experienced a catastrophic event. Learn more at penalty box foundation dot Org. Once again, my name is Neil ravenus. Episode Number Thirty five of the e showing coming on the podcast for the very first time. It's a brand new team. Just like last week, the welcome in the head coach in GM of the PROTEC junior ducks. Welcome to the east show, Terry Watt. Hey, Neil, thanks for having me so terry. Let's jump right into it. Who are the protect junior ducks? The PRO tout protect junior duck sell, as everyone probably knows, our owner purchase junior flyers from the AHL last year and we relocated them to Somerset, New Jersey, and that's where we're located right now. And obviously everything's in full swing. We we started our training camp last week and we're excited to get the year going. And for those that don't know, you guys have more than just a junior team in that building. Other teams do you field? And with protect we have everything from Mites all the way up to midget program our goal is to next year start an elite u eighteen and you sixteen team that's going to be a direct feeder to our junior program and the name the ducks had, was that always there? And in terms of the colors that you're going to use, was there any correlation with the Anaheim ducks out on the West Coast? For so our youth program is actually it's actually for my been around, so no one's been anyone that's not been to our facility. It's called protect skating ponds and the reason why they call it the pond is because we have two training facilities that are pond like and that's where the name or originated from. But in saying that, we when it comes to the junior team and the name and the logo, we wanted to do a separate brand just so everyone separated from the youth program to the junior program the mentality behind that was to kind of give something the youth program to aspire to be one day and look up to. So we had a different color scheme, Different Jersey names and all that stuff in sort. So to answer your original question, yes, when we were sitting down in brainstorming about the logo...

...and New Jersey, the Anaheim mighty ducks where the first thing. They came to our mind for the color scheme. So what's kind of funny, also off of that, is you mentioned before. It's you're taking the place of the junior flyers who I always told John Graves. I don't know John Graves listen to this podcast, but I always thought, John Greaves, that icelile its one of the nicest rinks in our leak from what I've been told. I've never been to the protect pawns but I've been told your rank is just as Nice. You talk more about outside of the actual on ice, what the facility has to offer? Oh yeah, absolutely. Our our owner is Pascal, is a top notch and our facility is top notch. It's since we got this junior team we've made a lot of upgrades to the facility. That was already a newer facility. Everything from the rinks to the locker rooms to the cafeteria, everything pretty much brand new. To be honest with you, it's the facility itself is only fifteen to seventeen years old. I believe our rank if you walked into it, is spotless every day. Since we got the junior team we've upgraded our workout facility. Our ownership has committed two hundredzero into a brand new gym sponsored by ets performance that's based out of Minnesota. We put over ten grand into our locker room. I've been told by a lot of the guys that played played in the higher levels, tier two and tier one. The our locker room is better than some tier two and tier two one locker rooms. I mean, I know, I know it's kind of funny when you think about it, but from day one, when I when we sat down as a management group, I stress the importance that if we were going to do this, that we needed to do it the right way. And you know the grind of a junior year and a junior season and for me it's the little things that matter to players. I'm fresh out of the game so I kind of can relate to today's players in today's mentality, and it's the players are they feel like they're taking care of off the ice. I mean, as a coach, there's no excuse, for excuses for them not to like perform on the ice. You know what I mean. So I mean our locker rooms got NHL stalls, we got a brand new fifty four fifty five inch flat screen, brand new stereo system. We have an xbox and a psfour in the locker room for the boys. We also have a ping pong table in there for them to so we definitely wanted to make sure we were taking care of them off the ice and everything was top notch. Our Gym, again, is brand new, our facility just in general role, from the ponds to the NHL side. Will be playing our games. It's going to be hard. It's going to be hard...

...to beat us, let's just put it that way, unless your high end tier two, tier one team. And off of that, I've always kind of joked that it's that sexy appeal that sells for the players, the little things that stick out, the xbox or this and that. Why do you think that is? You think it's just the fact that they feel more professional when they get all those amenities. So, as a coach, I look at it both ways. I look at it as a coach and as a player. I mean as a player, I mean I've been around, I played different junior leagues, college pro etc. And I feel like as a player, like when you feel valued, I just feel like you you put more into it, you know what I mean. And as a coach, I feel like if my guys are taking care of off the ice and they have a place where, well, it's for this way. As a coach, I want my guys to be at the rink every day, you know what I mean. I want them to enjoy coming to the rink and the junior season is a long, long haul. You have your Alps, you have your downs and sometimes, like you know, when your team's down in the bumps in the road. But anything that can bring the team together, whether it's just showing up to practice so early to like get a ping pong tournament going or an Nhl Shell tournament going on the TV and the xbox, just a little things like that just bring your team together and it just you build that bond, you know what I mean. And, like I said, there's oppus and downs. So I want my guys to be at the rink, you know, and if we're on one of those stretches in the year where we're a little bit down, I want the guys not to be like all get up at six am and they got to be at practice and be like, I don't feel like coming to the rink today. I want them to enjoy coming their rink and enjoy the experience. And you mentioned you're shortly out of your playing days. Can you take us through a guy from Canada, let's go through your playing career in the different steps that you took. Oh Man, the little I want to talk about for sure. So I grew up playing in Canada. I'm originally just outside of Toronto. I grew up my goal growing up. I found out a little bit of my early stages is that and it was actually my father moved to the states for work and it opened that opportunity for me to be able to get a green card to move to America and I started to look more into college hockey and I just started to get that drive in that passion to want to be a college hockey they're opposed to taking that stereotypical route in Canada, where everything's the OHL, the queue or the DUB, and I played two years of junior in Canada and then I played three years of junior in the states and coincidentally enough, I actually finished out my last year juniors in pretty much it was...

...the Atlanta junior hockey we get the time, and I also played in the eastern junior league for the Springfield picks, but which is eventually is I turned into the kind of DHL I know. The AJ and EJ kind of merged over the years and I was actually the captain for the Walpole Express with Rob Arletta and Chris Sorella, and that's where I actually got committed to play the college to bus data out of playing out of with those guys. So after that I played minor pro hockey for nine years. I coach professionally for two in Europe and then the last two years I was a skills coach and work with all the Olympian US Olympic women's team and team Canada. And here I am now this year, back back kind of where my roots started. They got me to college and I couldn't be more happy to be in this league because it's kind of like that domino effect, in that full circle where I'm back where it all started, what gave me my career. So it's a privilege to coach in this league. It's a privilege the the play in this league and I can't be more happy to be in the situation that I am to kind of get those players and get them the opportunities that I got to got me where I am today. And in last week's interview I talked with Michael Grace from the man of clips, the other new team, and I asked him this kind of similar question that I'm going to get to with you. Shortly after he finished playing, he went into coaching and he said that for him, he wanted to get right into it because he wanted to give back to the sport they gave him so much. Did that same feeling apply for you, as WHO's playing was done, he wanted to get in the coaching because of that reason? Absolutely. I mean we're so lucky and so fortunate, like the coach and they clips and myself, it's like, and all the other coaches in our league to we're all lucky, we're very fortunate. Is there's obviously only so many coaching jobs out there and all the league's and to be the select fluish select few, especially in this league, to get that opportunity to give back to like hockey's been my entire life, and if I can give back in any way and change the life of a couple kids, or if you kids are one or two kids, and get them to opportunities that I got and makes everything worthwhile. And obviously our league, especially the Ahl, is very college focus and driven. There's nothing more rewarding than giving a kid a call or calling him in your office and say you know what, the school just wants to commit to you and they want you. And for me I feel like as a coach, that's more rewarding just to see that smile on that Kid's face and that all the hard work that they put in all over the years that they've all call wish their goals in their dreams and to keep the comparisons going. I've been asked already this offseason. You know, how do I feel about the new teams coming in and...

...obviously in an inaugural season it's not easy or fair to judge wasn't wins and losses and put that up against whether a season is successful. Or not. But what I noticed with both your organization and the eclipse is you're coming in with full staffs and I think that's really important to talk about and for you. You mentioned Pascal and the ownership, but you haven't really talk about anybody else, whether it's Joe Pichino the rest of your assistant coaches. Can you talk about the entire staff that you have coming in with you and how that's so important to the overall success your organization? Absolutely, I mean I can't speak highly enough of our owner. Like anybody that's been around the game knows that everything starts from the top down, and our ownership, all the way to our president to our staff at the doctors, all First Class, top notch. I mean Pascal, our owner, unbelievably dedicated to making this first class for our players. Like, just like I said, if you just looked at our facility and the money he's invested into just the junior team this year alone, with our gym in our locker room and our apparel and our Jersey's just to make the players feel that much special, is like it's off the wall. It's he's so dedicated. All he wants to do is win and you know, it bring a championship to the docks. And then I lead into like Joebiquino there for example. So Joe Piquino's our president and he was a big part of making this junior team happen, just getting all the process in place with the League and getting US approved. Joeb Aquino has been around for years and he used to he used he was at one point he was the assistant general manager of the New York Rangers in the NHL. So this guy's been around. He gets it, he knows it, he knows what it takes to win. He knows what it takes to have a successful organization. He's coached and coached and been general manager at high positions at all levels of pro hockey. And then, on top of that, like our equipment manager, little things like our equipment manard. We have full time equipment managers. We have a full time athletic trainers. Every day at practice, like I said, we started training camp a week ago. Every day are equipment managers there, little things for the players, again, their skates done, getting their equipment done the right way. A tweaks to there to anything they need from their hemets for their skates and then we also have a fulltime athletic trainer. There's every day and she's there wrapping the guys up. Her name is Sarah. She's wrapping their hands up, propping their knees up, whatever they need. It's just, honestly, anyone has been around like I've been in a lot of minor pro hockey programs, I think our organization is our organization is run like a pro program there's no other better way to put it to like than that. Honestly, it's all been first class the whole...

...way in. Any of the guys that have been in here have all been telling me the same thing. Since training camp started. They said they'd start a training camp they've ever been to and it's also the most professional training camp they've ever been doing. And people for us like that are in the management that have been preparing for this year and putting all the places in, all the pieces in place. To hear that feedback from the players it just makes it all worthwhile. And another name also in there is Stephen drew. was scheduling is something that before I took on this position, I didn't appreciate enough the work that it took to you know, you would just turn on the TV the hockey games. They're right. I didn't realize what went into scheduling, what Steven's done with you to really focus on how important the schedule is because, as you've mentioned a few times throughout this podcast, a junior hockey season it's a grind, it's a marathon, it's not a sprint and and you have so many different individuals that you just mentioned there that have helped made this possible to get this thing started for you. But the one name that has to go out to meet the most I want to talk about more is Joe Bichino, because because of him, you guys actually have a pretty unique connection with the Minnesota Magicians. Can talk about that. Yeah, that is cracked. And let me, let me, let me catch back on Stephen, for example. She's gonna kill me for leaving about but Stephen Row is actually he's my right hand man, along with my coaching staff obviously, but Stephen has been tremendous. Like you said, the scheduling is not easy. He's a director of our hockey operations and he comes with a hockey background. Also, he played juniors. He's like college, so he gets it. He knows what it takes and what's expected at high levels. He's been tremendous, everything from helping me with Apparel Jersey orders to scheduling to coordinating with other teams just to make sure everything is like in place in professional for our team. So a big shout out to Stephen also for for making everything very seamless for us. But back to what you said about Joe and his involvement. So we are one of the rare teens in the AHL that have a direct affiliation with a tier to program. I correct me if I'm wrong, Neil, but I think Maryland's the only other team. I think that you are correct. Yes, okay. So the difference is Joe Bakino Son, who is a j Bakino. It was the general manager and head coach for the Minnesota Magicians in the North American Hockey League for the last three years. He's now step aside and took on the president role and they just hired a new coach. But AJB Keino is the son of Joeb Aquino. So our affiliation is like, I don't want to downplay anyone else asiluation, but it's a very personal affiliation, if that's a better way to put it, and the fact that it's father son and I'm also one of the scouts for the magicians,...

...so I have free reign to be able to send guys, call guys up, send guys down. According with AJ and myself, Aj and I have a great relationship. We talked about three times a week probably. He gives me update on his roster, where they are at the NA and where we are at. This year alone, I already five of my players that signed with us we sent to their main camp, so it was great exposure for them. Aj and I have again been in communication and he also plans on sending us some players after they shortened on their roster a little bit here, once they get going. But we fully, fully intend to have a real affiliation where if anything happens on their end, where they need a player, someone gets hurt, vice versa, someone gets called up, we fully intend on sending guys both ways between their team and our team and as an EHL team that's here three I think that's big for our players and our organization in the fact that we're a team that has legitimate opportunity to the for guys to advance, and I think that's all players really want. They want that opportunity. They know they're going to get the AHL exposure for the colleges because the AHL has that credibility, but in the back of their minds they know when they come to play for us that they have a legitimate opportunity to get that call up to the Tier Du level. So that's huge for us. It's a big selling point and I couldn't be more happy to be working with the magicians and with us. And of course the new head coach and of the magicians is to bickle and then Hul long are you going to call him up for pointers here and there throughout the season? So stew' is actually a great guy. Obviously his RSUME speaks volumes. I was actually at their main camp a few weeks ago. I was invited out because I'm one of their scouts stew and I had that was the first time we got the meet. We talked about his lineup and his roster and what he's trying to build with Minnesota and I gave him a little bit of a rundown of like what I'm trying to do here with the docks, and it was great just to pick each other's brains on what he's looking for because, like I said, at some points during the year, if he needs a guy, I now know what he's looking for in a player. So to keep that strong relationship going, it's important that we send them the right players when they ask for and again, any time you can speak to like a guy that's been around, that's played in the show, whether it's the NHL, Ahl and get pointers. I believe everyone has different velocity philosophies. I'm sorry, but I believe...

...as a coach, if you're not evolving and making yourself better, you're not doing yourself for your team any justice. So I'm always willing and open to talk to good hockey minds and learn from people, because I wouldn't be in the position I was if I didn't learn from people prior to me. So it's important to always involve in this game. If you become complacent and you become stubborn, you're not making yourself a better coach and you're not making your team any better. Well, I think that's a great transition, because we've touched on your staff, we've touched on the affiliation and you've mentioned that it's kind of come full circle for you going back to junior's in the league that you played in when it was gone by its former name, the Atlantic junior hockey league. As you get started this season, are there coaches throughout the league that you will lean on, call it times and try and look at as almost mentors as you work through your first year? Oh, it's a tough one there you're listening to to say. You know, obviously I mean like I said before, I mean any coach that coaches in this league, they earned it. They deserve to be where they are. There's a reason they are coaching the HL. I mean I have tremendous respect for every coach and every team in this league and there's a few names that do pop up for me because I prior relationships with them. The first one that jumps out is obviously Chris Sorella. I mean what he's done for the League and for his time since he's been with the avalanche. I mean his resume again speaks for himself. He he started a new program, proved new program, just like I'm doing, and he won back to that championships. And but the big thing is I played for Mr Sorella and he was my coach when I was the captain of the Express and I tremendous respect for that man because he taught me a lot and I probably would have got the opportunities or the college commitment that I got without him. So obviously I'll always, always respect him and reach out to him. The next one that comes to my mind is probably Ryan or grass, because at the time when I was with the express, he was with their express also, and Ryan's a great guy with a great mind. He's been around, he was a college coach, he knows, he knows what it takes to play at that level. The next person that jumps out to me is probably Timmy Jones with the wolf. I don't know timmy personally, but we both played in the EJ for Springfield Falcons. So we both played under Gary to Dean and Lincoln. Falcon was notorious, if you don't know anything about them, for sending the most kids do you want out of the EJ when the DJ existed. It was just a great...

...organization and I know Timmy played for them the year before that I did, but I always heard great things about him from from my teammates that played was in the year before, and so I would say that those are probably the three that jump out at me the most, but again, I like to leave all my options open. I mean all the coaches in this league, all these coaches in this league are our phenomenal coaches. Are they wouldn't be coaching in this league. So those are just a three that jumped out to me right now when you ask me, and before we get to the outlook of your overall roster and your goals for the year, I want to touch on the OTM sports network because it's something that you do outside of your coaching responsibilities. Do you tell the folks at home what Otm is all about? So odm sports is no team. Sports network is something that I had, an idea that I came up with just just for being the suitcase that I was in hockey I was. I was very fortunate to playing many different countries in different continents. I think fourteen countries for continents to be to be precise, to be honest with you. And and no, Matt and I played at some highly high levels. That played at some lower levels and the one thing I noticed between the lower levels of the high levels is these players all run into the same issues, whether it was finding the right connection the right agent or finding out information about countries and leagues and teams they've played on. And so I came up with this idea to kind of create a free social networking site that's kind of similar to Linkedin, but it's it's hockey specific, and I will reiterate again that it is a free platform. It doesn't cost money to be a member at all and it's a way for everybody in the hockey industry to like networking, communicate and to educate each other about different teams, different cultures, different leagues. For that way, no one's going to anything like blindfolded and not knowing. It's also weeding out the good in the bad and it's a way for players to like find out about advisors and agents, which ones are helping, which ones are not helping. I mean anyone that's been around those that you have some good experiences, you have some bad experiences, but it's about finding that common ground where you can make that edit educated decision what's best for you and your career at the time. It's also a way for owners, coaches, GM's players to apply for jobs and contracts all over the world in the hockey industry. So it's it's literally a full circle social networking site that helps everybody in the industry and advanced their career, no matter whether they're playing still or after their care when they're coaching or in management positions. And I'm sure a few of the players that you've signed so...

...far this year are on that network somewhere. So let's get to that outlook for your team. Obviously, the first you guys that you announced and Duncan and Dylan, where your goaltenders? As the player songs have progressed, we saw a big one in Britain. Patricia, I mentioned earlier in the podcast that in inaugural season that's really tough to judge the success based off wins and losses. But you know, let's go short term and long term goals. What are you hoping for short short term first year with the protype junior ducks? That was a lot of questions. Alma hockey player, remember first first off I'd probably say is like it kind of a catch twenty two. Would you ask me about OTM and finding some players and agents that helped me out get players? I mean, I don't want to give all my secrets away, but I like to think I have a little edge over everyone else because I have that network to be able to help me reach out and find some more players that I need. But moving on. Yes, absolutely every coach has their own philosophy of how to build a team and my number one priority when I was constructing this team was that I wanted to build from the back out and it was important for me to be able to find two goalies that I feel could give our Chit, our team, a chance to stay in every game, if not win some games every night. And Dunkin and Dylan are both great kids and their great goalies. And when I build my team again, I don't want to give too many you're killing me here, because I don't want to give it too many secrets away, but I don't necessarily obviously you want every coach once they're great players, but I care more about finding the right players than I do the best players, because I feel good coaches can make a mediocre team great, and I'm not saying my team's mediocre by any means. I'm just saying that I wanted to find good players and good character people and good human beings, and the feedback that I got on both Duncan and Dylan where they were great teammates. They were they were not only were they great teammates, they were just good human beings and for me that's important because I want good people in our culture and our environment at the docks and Duncan. Will start with Duncan. Duncan's numbers kind of speak for themselves. He he's a second year ehl player. I know he played on a strong team last year at the REVS. He had a nine for Tuesday percentage, I believe. Last year in the AHL and like thirteen games with under a two two goals against average, I believe, and if you look...

...at his numbers before last year, he's always been consistent and solid with putting up good numbers. If we lead into Dylan, Dylan again is a guy that's coming to us from the USHL Premier League. I he was highly recommended to me one of the from one of the best goalie coaches we have here in New Jersey, a guy who's actually the goalie coach for the Princeton University done and he said he's one of the most technically sound goal he's ever seen in the state. So I really believe that we have to number ones and I brought them in as were, and I'll be honest with you, we're a little bit of a different situation than most teams in the League and the fact that I committed to two goalies and I promised them I would only sign to but they got to pull their weight and they love that fact and it's a big gamble on my part as a coach. But we do have an emergency backup in place in case we ever need one. That's local. But I firmly believe that we have to number one goalies and in either one of them on any given night can not only keep our team in the game but can win us a game, and having strong gold something, in my mind, is huge in any level in any league. Leading into Patricia, what do I say about raiding? Anytime you can sign the top junior eligible leading scorer in the league to come back, it's a game changer. I don't want to pump it tires too much because obviously you're only as good as your last game. So my goal and my message that I've sent to Patricia is that I need him to come in right away from day one and be a leader and I needed him to be consistent, just like you lost. It was last year with the revs, and I'm not going to lie to you, ever since I signed him, immediately changes our Ford core on a whole. Not only that, because he's a type of player that makes everyone around him better. But I'm not going to lie to you, ever since signing him I've had a lot more interest from a lot of top end forwords that are actually at the tier two level right now. That might be filtering down to us here in the next couple weeks. Getting the chance to play on a Ligne was a guy like Patricia and their colleagues exposure and extra points you can put up. It's an easier selling point for me as a coach. So I'm also coach and never put anyone above the team. Everybody's accountable. I don't care if you're on my first line or my fourth line, or or you got a guy working again the line up. I expect the same compete level in the same effort from everybody. But having a guy like him definitely changes our Ford core and makes us all offensively more at least a weapon...

...for sure, and it's a great outlook for your team. Everything's looking great for you. Guys heading into your first season. The one question they wanted to make sure I ask you before we wrapped up is a question that I've asked every single coach on this podcast throughout the summer because I haven't had the same answer given to me more than once throughout the summer. You mentioned before you've played on four different continents. So with this question, I've asked every guy to tell me their favorite rank. If you want to mention more than one, you can, but, but, but, when you go back to that rank, it's special to you. What would that be? Oh Man, that's a hard question. So I forgot that. See, I remember, I forgot that. I answered your last question about you were asking me about my project, my per day prediction on the team's of wins and losses. So I don't have to get you, don't have to give us that number, you know, but probably, like every coach, as is your question, I'm not going to answer that question, if that's a good way to put it. Yep, I expect my team to win every night. I expect my team to compete every night and anything but a championship in my mind, is unacceptable. So that answers that answers your first question leading into your next question about the rink. That's hard meal I don't know. I've played in so many places, but the two that stand out to me the most would probably be my first game playing college hockey, just because it's just that surreal experience that all that hard work that you put in and obviously playing at buff state. The SUNIAC is one of the top dthree conferences. Playing there was probably really special for me. And then, sorry, and then the next one was probably my first pro hockey game, my first pro hockey game, which was in Charlotte, and that would probably be in the next rink. That was the next most special to me, just just those two iconic moments. Well, that keeps consistent with what that question has produced this this summer. We haven't had the same answer more than once. So so I appreciate that. Well, like I said, the protect junior ducks a brand new team in our league, just like the main eclipse. We have high hopes for what they're going to offer. What's fitting for us. You got one in each conference. So the protect junior ducks a team to definitely watch out for in the mid Atlantic conference. So, Terry, want to wish you good luck with what's left of the offseason. I know your guys have already showed up here in training. Camp has begun, so I I don't speak to you before it. Good luck with your opening game and I'm looking forward to seeing me seeing you soon. Neil, I can't thank you guys at the League enough. Like sometimes you guys go on and appreciate it, but I know that I reached out to you multiple times on a daily basis yes especially under new program just to get feedback on things. That rolls regulations except for like that. So I just wanted to shout out to...

...you, can and Joe Everyone at the League. You guys have been tremendous to work with and first class all the way and I'm sorry if I bother you too much, but we just, we just as an organization, want to make sure that we're prepared and we're ready and we're meeting all the standards that this league in their credibility that they they've established in we want to make sure that we're we're on par with everyone, just like you guys are, and wants to get the season started. Come a months and we'll have you back on the podcast for sure. All right. Thank you so much, Neil. I appreciate it. Thanks, Terry. Thanks for listening to the show. Learn more at Eastern Hockey League Dot Org and follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Youtube. Also, be sure to subscribe and get notified when next week's PODCAST is released.

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