Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coaching prospect: Chuck Weber

Usually I write about player prospects. But today I want to say a word or two about a coaching prospect, Chuck Weber.

I first encountered Weber when he was coaching his Cincinnati Cyclones in the 2008 ECHL Kelly Cup Finals. After the game, he came into the room where the press conference was set up, and instead of sitting down at the table and microphone, he stood. Here's a picture I took that day:

It was obvious that he had a lot of energy. He struck me as very intense, businesslike. And he got it done -- his team won the thing on the road in Las Vegas.

For the fourth straight year, Weber's got his Cyclones in playoff position, leading their division. The most impressive thing about it to me is that they're doing it this year with two 20-year-old rookie goaltenders -- one from the Predators, one from the Canadiens -- who are not top prospects. These are the kinds of goaltenders who most teams wouldn't want to have to rely on. But the Cyclones play such great team defense that it's working. Weber was himself a defenseman and he knows how to teach it, obviously. He never played pro hockey himself though.

I interviewed Weber about the goalies last night as his team came through town. I wanted to hear about them, but equally I wanted to know more about how he goes about things too.

He was again very professional, fully answering every question. It was after a loss, so this was a good test. Some coaches don't hold it together very well after losses. That's not the case with Weber. He made thoughtful comments and treated the little people (me) with respect.

He won't likely be in the league long. Or, if he is, it's the AHL's loss.

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