I didn't have the blog up yet to report when the Phantoms assistant coach Rob Rassey took a well deserved position as an assistant coach with the Harvard University Crimson, one of the oldest hockey programs in the United States. First off, I have to thank and congratulate Rob. Of course, with less than a week until pre-season starts, this left me wondering who, how and when they would be able to fill the gap left next to coach Noreen. Well, it was only a couple days wait. I won't bore you with the long form, you can read the official release if you want that.
Let me sum it up. Michael Zucker is as bona fide an assistant coach as your going to see. Zucker has spent the past 7 seasons in the trenches as an assistant coach in the WHL, NCAA and the last 2 seasons USHL's Omaha Lancers. That's Canadian Major Jr., NCAA Division I, and the USHL Western Conference. Before coming to the USHL he served under the University of Denver's George Gwozdecky, the 11th winningest coach in the NCAA. Before that he served under Kevin Constantine for three years with the Everett Silvertips of the Canadian Major WHL. Constantine, in addition to coaching several season in the NHL for three teams, has coached just about every major Jr. league, including the USHL and NAHL.
Zucker should bring a lot to the bench. I'm surprised that the Phantoms got an assistant coach of this caliber so shortly after Rassy's leaving. The one thing I've noticed with the Phantoms over the past couple years: they know what they want and go get it! Be it tenders, draft picks, trades or staff, they have a way of finding pieces that fit together well. Everyone from the front office to the players has the same vision of what Phantom hockey. When someone new joins the team, there's no need to sell them on it because they get people who already have the same vision.