July 11, 2017 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Corpus Christi IceRays
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS - The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have named Ryan Anderson to be the team's Assistant Coach, the organization announced today.
"We are very excited about completing our coaching staff with the addition of Ryan Anderson," said IceRays General Manager Pat Dunn. "He received a good recommendation from another well-respected coach and comes from a program with multiple IceRays ties. We feel his personality, coaching philosophy and work ethic fit well with our organization, and Ryan's addition to the hockey operations staff continues our commitment to building a championship program."
Anderson, 31, joins the IceRays following two seasons with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, serving as the team's Video Coach/Assistant Coach while also sitting as a Board Member for the Hampton Roads Whalers of the U.S. Premier Hockey League (USPHL). In addition to pre-scouting opponents and preparing reports and all team coaching video, he also helped on the ice running practice drills and developing game plans through his scouting and video reports. Prior to his time with the Admirals, the Kingsford, Mich. native was an assistant coach with the Hampton Roads Jr. Whalers in the USP3HL in 2015-16 and coached current IceRays tenders John Moncovich and Brandon Osmundson. He was also a successful youth hockey coach within the Whalers organization, earning more than 130 wins in five seasons including two league championships and multiple tournament titles.
Anderson began his coaching journey through an unconventional route. After playing high school hockey, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for six years as an Electronics Technician. In that time, he completed four deployments: two in the Persian Gulf, one in Djibouti, and one in the Black Sea. He was stationed in Norfolk, Va. during that time span, which helped him gain a connection with the Hampton Roads Whalers following his service to the military. Former General Manager Tom Winkler brought him on as a U16 AA coach, and thus his coaching career began. A combination of leadership experience in the military and a former desire to become a teacher helped mold and prepare him for the transition from a player's perspective to a coaching perspective.
"Hockey has always been my passion," said Anderson. "It's been that safe place for me. It was what has always kept me happy and was the activity to got the most enjoyment out of. When I was in the Navy, I had some instructor experience, and I had always liked teaching. The instructor experience you get out of it, learning how to deal with different types of people, and learning how to get the most out of people even though they may not want to give you everything they've got. It really forms you as a person for what's important, whether that's work ethic or the things that make you successful."
While with the Whalers, Anderson developed a working relationship with Eric Veilleux, the current Head Coach of the San Antonio Rampage. At the time, Veilleux had just become an assistant coach for the Norfolk Admirals, and his son was on Anderson's youth team. The two built a working relationship during the 2014-15 season with Veilleux helping Anderson learn more and expand his coaching. When Veilleux was named Head Coach of the Admirals in the 2015-16 season, Anderson was brought on to the coaching staff in his current role in a continuation of that relationship.
"Eric really provided a wide range of opportunities for me. I would run drills. I'd get to be involved in practice. I'd get to see and hear his teaching points for what he thought was important that was going to make us successful. We'd take the pre-scouts that I would do, and we'd formulate practice plans and implement them. I consider him not only a friend but also a mentor."
IceRays Head Coach Brad Flynn built his connection with Veilleux when the two were coaching in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and through Flynn's father. With a recommendation from Veilleux and other sources, Flynn decided to pull the trigger on bringing in Anderson, citing his video experience, level of coaching and attention to detail.
"We are very excited to add a quality person and passionate coach to our organization," said Flynn. "Ryan comes in with tremendous references from coaches I know and trust. He is passionate about coaching and developing players. After spending time in professional hockey, Ryan will offer a lot to developing our players both on and off the ice. Ryan's hockey and military background is another set of experiences to draw from. He is a very well-spoken communicator, has a background in team building and has a high level of attention to detail."
Anderson will join the IceRays at the end of July during the IceRays Main Camp in Fraser, Mich. before permanently moving to Corpus Christi in August. Both Anderson and Flynn have already begun work toward next season, trading video clips and coaching philosophies before convening for camp. Anderson not only feels confident with the direction the team is headed for the 20th Anniversary season but also the IceRays organization as a whole.
"We're very excited with the direction we're heading," said Anderson. "Brad and I have had some really good conversations about what we want to do defensively, how we want our defensemen to play, and the things we like and don't like out of our defensemen.
"The IceRays had a record-setting year as an organization, and I want to get down there to help be part of that success and build upon it even further. The goal is obviously a Robertson Cup and to get as many kids to as many schools as possible. The most important thing for me was coming to an organization that I felt comfortable with, that is trust-worthy and good people, and that's what I'm getting to come to. I'm very excited about it."