Friday, 19 December 2014

Anholt: "First Priroity is Our Players"

Here's a very interesting article written by Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.  I usually don't post paper articles, but I thought this one had some great insight on Hurricanes Head Coach/GM Peter Anholt and his thoughts about the club now and moving forward. Give it a read:

Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach and general manager Peter Anholt stated the obvious Wednesday when talking about the moribund WHL club he took over.

“We’re a long way from the ’77 Montreal Canadiens,” he said, “let me put it to you that way." A long way indeed.

Anholt assumed control of what has been the worst WHL team since the start of the 2013-14 season when head coach Drake Berehowsky and general manager Brad Robson were fired last week. The Hurricanes managed 18 wins in 101 games under that duo. Their 48 points are six fewer than the Saskatoon Blades have tallied, entering action on Wednesday.

No, the Hurricanes are not akin to one of hockey’s greatest teams. But those wearing the sweater are going to be treated better.

“The first priority is our players,” said Anholt, who was first hired to be the club’s assistant GM in June. “We have to be mindful of that, that our current players are our biggest and best assets. They’re No. 1. I think that has been lost a little bit here.

“It’s time for the staff of the Lethbridge Hurricanes to quit blaming the players and look at ourselves a little bit closer. “It’s hard enough to win in this league when things are right. It’s impossible to win when things aren’t. That’s generated from the top on down.”

There has been a flurry of trade demands since last September under the old regime — from current Blade Sam McKechnie to Duck Lake’s Ryan Pilon and finally Reid Duke and Macoy Erkamps this season.

Whether their reasons for wanting out of Lethbridge were valid or not, Anholt said his coaching and management staffs will show more accountability and put an emphasis on player development. “The feeling wasn’t there before,” he said. “The players didn’t feel that there was a chance to grow as a player and meet their potential. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes that’s not true. But perception is reality.

“But we’re not just going to trade guys now, if that ever happens again. That’s not going to happen. You’ve got to play here and you’ve got to play hard. The line in the sand is drawn for sure.” Anholt hasn’t coached in the WHL since running the Prince Albert Raiders in 2007.

He hasn’t been in the GM’s chair since the early 1990s with the Seattle Thunderbirds when former Blades exec and play-by-play man Dennis Beyak was his right-hand man.

Anholt, who hasn’t discussed his future beyond this season with Hurricanes board president Doug Paisley, knows there is plenty of work to do.

He wants the Canes players to be in better physical shape and play with more structure. However, he believes there are pieces in place for future success citing impressive 16-year-old goaltender Stuart Skinner, defencemen Kade Jensen and Andrew Nielsen and forwards Giorgio Estephan and Jaeger White.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but when I look into the eyes of the players I think they’re up to the challenge,” Anholt said. “It’s exciting, but it’s going to be a lot of work to bring us back to respectability.”


  1. We will have to wait and see how he handles the rest of the year. His prior record even coaching has not been stellar, My opinion is they should have maybe looked for someone with some more GM experience, But lest wait and see what happens before the hounds get set on him,

  2. I find it absolutely refreshing that unlike Berehowsky, Anholt seems to understand that ALL involved are responsible for the success and failures of the team, not just the players. Accepting responsibility was the one thing I harped on over and over when it came to the former head coach (as you are all well aware). I appreciate Anholt accepting his part in what is to come.

    I don't how this is all going to wash out in the end but I do truly believe that the players are in better hands now than they were just a few weeks ago.


  3. I am just wondering where Anholt has been for the past 6 months? Was he not hired as assistant GM back in June? It's a great that he's stepping up now, but where was he at the start of the season when all the bad trades, bad scouting, and other bad deals were going on? It's nice that he is riding in like a knight in shining amour after the fact.

  4. not crapping in the nest you may have to take charge of feathering.

  5. Let time take it's course. There is a reason the guy hasn't been in the WHL for 7 years. There is always a little spike when a new guy takes over. Soon things get back to their previous level. As is often said "talk is cheap". Hire a quality GM with a proven record. Let him hire a HC with a proven record. Strengthen your scouting, make solid trades and never again the give aways to Brandon. Things will slowly but surely turn around positively.

  6. you more than likely know all about the talk is cheap thing, the man hasn't even been in charge for more than 2 minutes and you writing him off already..and I love your scenario about hiring the perfect gm/coach, you must have it all figured out except the part about paying those bill when you don't have the cash...or maybe you can pay for them to bring this to fruition,,

  7. To all that quickly point out your perception of his lack of experience, lack of winning, not in the game for 7 years, etc, etc I ask the simple question. Name me 2 or 3 WHL ready GM's who have the experience, are available today, fit the budget of a small market team, and who are a better choice than Anholt. I am sure you can't, and that is why he was hired.

  8. Your answer is this...For all the time and money that has been wasted and is still being wasted on unfulfilled contracts, Doug Soetaert was available at the time but was deemed to expensive? now or pay later??? Pay now and the franchise is growing and in the playoffs, pay later like this one is doing, you are broke and swirling in the toilet the business world you have to spend money to make money!!!

    1. the problem is there is no money to hire so called better talent and if you could it would take a minimum of 2/3 years to get his train wreck back on track...MAYBE, and trust me that's a big do what you can with the tools you got..and please don't play on that pun" tools"..

  9. I can't speak to any of the conjecture made here, but I can say this: Give Anholt a chance. He was not out of the game, kept his hand in as a pretty well respected scout -- Seattle's got some talent from Sask on thier roster, right? -- and he knows all the big plyers in this league.
    His introductory press conference came across as earnest and off-the-cuff and was damn impressive.
    He also came in and almost immediately sent a message to some unproductive players -- sent two home, sat another one.
    Yes, these two wins could be a product of that temporary lift but look a little closer. The Canes are actually running a basic breakout from their own zone, and its worked for three games. They still get caught when highly skilled players win the one-on-one battles and force the help defence, but they don't look confused EVERY time the other team gains the zone.
    The puck pursuit system actually follows a logical progression, with one player taking the man, the other the puck.
    They're running simple systems and they still can't out-skill anyone, but adhering to some basic hockey philosophy could see this team win a lot more than they have the past two seasons.

    I'm not going to defend Anholt, he's a big boy, but when all you have is a small sample size, I can tell you what we've seen tactically in that sample.
    -- Dylan

  10. I just get a kick out of all the armchair guys who have all the answers. Soeteart's name is kicked around by every team in search, why is he unemployed, or scouting for a team in Europe? How is he a better solution than Anholt? Everett was good as an expansion team and has been mediocre at best for the past 7-8 years. Lots of people questioned his lack of moves when his team was near dead last in the league and didnt trade Murray or other top guys to rebuild. Maybe you like him, but that doesnt make him right. Name another guy? There arent any available right now.

    1. At the time, he would have been a much better choice than the Robson/Berehowski duel, that was my point...

    2. Anon 15:11 Robson and Drake did not have a duel , that would have been something to watch . Or did you mean to say duet?

    3. Get past the Robson/Berehowsky topic. It's irrelevant.