From Utica, to Vancouver, Here’s Coach Green

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time signalling that the Willie Desjardins era with the Vancouver Canucks is over. And so began the search for the team’s next head coach. Rumours have swirled the last few weeks that they would hire Travis Green, the coach of their affiliate team, the Utica Comets. And while there are a few coaching vacancies league wide and lots of big names out there, Green seemed to be at the top of the Canucks list from the beginning of the search.

And after a few weeks of speculating, it has now been officially announced that yes, Travis Green is indeed now the coach of the Vancouver Canucks. That is the story but all that I have heard since the news broke is how he cannot possibly be a good fit or that his tenure is bound to be an absolute disaster before it has even started. 

Yes, maybe it was the obvious choice. Yes, maybe he does not have experience coaching at the NHL level. Yes, maybe he was not the anticipated choice from some fans. However you feel about the hiring, one thing is certain, Travis Green deserves a chance to actually do the job before he is critiqued. Maybe he will make some bad decisions along the way but it’s not fair to attack when he’s yet to actually coach this team for even one game yet.

He deserves credit for the impeccable job he’s done with Utica over the last 4 years and he deserves credit for his experience as a former hockey player.  He deserves credit for helping to develop and mentor a bulk of the Canucks prospects over the last 4 years. He deserves respect as someone who has paid his dues to get here. He does not deserve to be compared to past coaches successes or mistakes, the decisions he makes will be his own. His mistakes and successes will be his own.

Today, he was introduced to the local media and had a lot to say about his vision for the team moving forward and how he welcomes the challenge of coaching at the NHL level.

“There’s pressure…there’s pressure wherever you coach. I like challenges and I’m excited about this. I’m ready.” – Travis Green

“There’s only 31 of these jobs in the league. I’m ready for the task at hand. There’s a lot of great people in this organization.” – Green

“Fans, we share the same goal: to have a winning team that’s exciting to watch. It’s not an overnight process, but it begins now.” – Travis Green

You hear that, Vancouver fans? He’s ready for the challenge and he knows that the process is not an overnight magic fix, the process takes time. Let’s give him a chance to be the catalyst as the process moves forward.

As much as there is youth needed, the veterans will also be called upon to help lead the way.

“I’m hopeful this group of veterans is eager to get back at it and bounce back next year. They’re going to push our culture.” – Travis Green

He knows that players will come back motivated after a tough season and he’s not afraid to push them when needed or encourage when needed. There will be no guessing games for his players as to where they stand with their coach. Communication will be clear between both sides.

“I don’t play mind games. Players know where they stand with me, good or bad. I’ll push my players, that’s what good coaches do.” – Travis Green

“I expect a lot of my players. I want players to succeed. I want to push a 15-goal scorer to become a 25-goal scorer.” – Travis Green

He’s worked his way up from playing in the league to coaching at different levels before landing here in Vancouver. Yes, he doesn’t have any experience coaching in the NHL but his time coaching in the minors will help him as he navigates this latest step. Every NHL coach started behind the bench somewhere and this is Green’s shot. Welcome to the big leagues, Travis.

Welcome home, coach! You’re officially one of us now! We are all Canucks.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E. L.

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