Convo with the Coach | Paul Dyck

Over the next 12 weeks we’ll get to know the coaches from across the MJHL.

Dave Anthony asked all the coaches 12 questions and they shared their hockey history, how they got into coaching and a whole lot more.

We always get to hear their names, now let’s get to know the men behind the bench.

Paul Dyck – Steinbach Pistons

DA: What’s your hockey background? Did you play?

PD: I was very fortunate to be able to play the game for many years. I grew up in Steinbach playing for the Millers. Following that I played a year of AAA Midget with the Eastman Selects, one season with the Dauphin Kings in the MJHL followed by 2 with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and played in their system for the next for 4 years. I played another 6 years in the IHL before they merged with the AHL in 2001 and then off to the DEL in Germany for where I played my last 5 seasons.

DA: How did you get into coaching?

PD: Somewhat by default by suppose as I did NOT initially aspire to become a coach. In August of 2010 I joined the Pistons in the marketing capacity and by the end of September I was taking on some of the assistant coaching duties. When Rich Gosselin resigned in December of 2011 I took over in the interim as I was the only other coach on staff. In the summer of 2012, I was fortunate to be offered the Head Coach/GM position and have thoroughly enjoyed the role ever since.

DA: What do you remember feeling standing on the bench as a head coach for the first time?

PD: How fast the game was down at ice level and how much of the game I was not able to see and process at the time. Thankfully over time I have been able to broaden my scope to see so much more and make quicker decisions and adjustments.

DA: What is your favorite or least favorite practice drill to run?

PD: I have numerous drills that I really like and that have become foundational for us. There is one that drill we do where I stand in an area of the ice where I am susceptible to being hit by pucks that miss the net and carom off the glass or a post. I love the drill but it but it keeps me on my toes and my head on a swivel.

DA: Is there a trade you’ve made or player recruitment/signing that stands out to you as being one of the best moves you’ve ever made?

PD: Over the past 8-9 years there have been a few that have been memorable and that I would like to believe made us a stronger team. That being said, trades are always simpler to imagine and to draw up but the difficult part is the realization that it usually means someone is leaving your dressing room which is often quite difficult. Prior to and during the 2012-13 season we made a number of trades that put us in a position to win the Turnbull Cup and frankly we would not have been in that position without them. Playoff MVP Corey Koop, Justin Dalebozik (Top scorer in Playoffs), Hayden Goderis, Tyler Penner, Zach Rakochy, Dan Taillefer, Richard Olson, Myles Nykoluk, Matt Franczyk, Gabe Minville and Brenden Hopkins were all players that we acquired via trades.  Moving on, some of top players throughout the years like Bradley Schoonbaert, Drew Worrad, Matt Radomsky, Braden Purtill, Kyle Bettens, Ty Naaykens and Codey Behun have also joined us through trades. Some of the more memorable recruits that worked out well for us were Cole Smith, Mack and Declan Graham.

DA: Who from your past (either playing with or being coached by) would you say had a great influence or impact on you as a coach today?

PD: I was fortunate to play with 2 veteran defencemen as a rookie in the minors that had a huge impact on me on how to be a pro both on and off the ice. Pittsburgh sent Gord Dineen and Gilbert Delorme down to the minors and they did a great job of mentoring the young players. Dave Tippett and Butch Goring were 2 coaches that I played for that influenced me tremendously and I have drawn from my experiences from them many times now as a coach. Both were coaches that held the players accountable but created environments where you were excited to come to the rink each day.

DA: Which former player stands out as one of your favorites to coach or to have around the rink every day?

PD: There are so many players that I could mention here. Colin Baudry was such a great leader and made our job easy in the room. Reise Gaber brought so much energy to the rink which was contagious and it was fun to watch how he played the game. Matt Radomsky grew and developed into an excellent goaltender and into an even better person. Jonah Wasyluk joined us as this raw, gangly winger that became an absolute dominate physical force and a fan favorite. One of the most rewarding components of this job is the number of great young men we have an opportunity to work with and see them grow as people.

DA: If you could coach an NHL team, which team would it be and why?

PD: I am going to have to go with Montreal here. The Canadiens were the team I grew up watching at every opportunity and have always appreciated thier rich history and winning culture. There are very few cities where the fans are as passionate and where the game means more to the people.

DA: In a post-game interview, which question do you like answering the least?

PD: There are rarely any questions that would qualify but if I am looking for one I would have to go with… “How important was it for you to score the first goal tonight?”   Considering the first goal usually results in that team winning over 2/3rds of the time.

DA: Why do you like coaching for the organization you do?

PD:  I feel very privileged and honoured to be coaching the Pistons. I am surrounded by so many good people on a daily basis that care deeply about our program, our players and the people of our community. We have great people on our Board of Directors that have been a pleasure to work alongside and that are committed to building the program to the best of our abilities.

DA: What do you like about the town/city you coach for?

PD: The first thing that jumps out to me about Steinbach is the number of amazing people here that care for and about one another. It’s a very generous community and despite the fact it has grown very quickly it still has a small-town feel. It is my hometown so it has been very rewarding to see how this community and the region have taken ownership of the Pistons and truly made us thier team.

DA: Who’s a current player on your team you feel deserves more attention from fans around the league? (This will be used for a future 12 Takes story).

PD: Christian Riemer is a player that just goes about his business on a daily basis and puts in the work every day both on the ice and in the gym. He is one of the fittest players we have ever had here and plays the most minutes for us every night and rarely tires. He certainly gained the respect of his teammates last year in the players as we dominate in every area of the game. He is about as low maintenance a player as you will find and not overly vocal but his play and value to our team will grab your attention.