When the Toronto Marlies introduced Steve Spott as the new head coach of the hockey team this July, it not only symbolized a replacement for Dallas Eakins, but a changing of the guard in terms of roster formation. The team is getting younger. New talent will be moved in and groomed. A new path will be forged and Spott enters at perhaps the perfect time.
Spott offers plenty of connections to our great city. He is a Toronto native that played in the Leafs farm system when they had an AHL affiliate known as the Newmarket Saints. He also spent time at Seneca College as coach in OCAA ranks.
His playing career took Spott to the NCAA realm, where he was part of the ECAC championship Colgate squad. He is also very familiar with the CHL and more specifically the OHL. Spott broke into the league as an assistant coach with the Plymouth Whalers, under Pete Deboer. He would later follow Deboer to Kitchener to assume the same role. During his tenure with the Rangers, Spott was part of two OHL championship teams and a Memorial Cup winning squad in 2003, as well as a runner up in 2008. Spott would later slide into the Head Coach and GM role in Kitchener, spending 12 years with that franchise.
Well rounded at the bench boss position, Spott has also represented his country on several occasions. He has acted as the head coach for Canada’s gold medal winning U-18 team in 2011, and as World Junior head coach in 2013, to go along with an assistant title at the 2010 World Junior tournament. During his time in red and white Spott directed the likes of Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly; while coaching opposite Jerry D’amigo, Jake Gardiner, Garret Sparks and Tyler Biggs.
If you add up the history, it is clear Spott will be able to relate too many of the players that will make up his Marlies roster iHe will have a unique bond with at least three players when he enters his 1st AHL camp, as Jerry D’amigo, Andrew Crescenzi and Josh Leivo all played for Spott in Kitchener.
There is a strong possibility that players born in the years between 1993-1991 could make up half of the Marlies roster for the upcoming season. With a younger look to the team and during a crucial stage of their development, it appears that the Marlies have found the perfect man for developing the next crop of Leafs in their first taste of a pro season, over 76 games.
How’s his track record when it comes to helping talent develop? Here are just a few of the names he has aided in making it to the NHL> David Clarkson (Tor), Mark Fraser (Tor), Nazem Kadri (Tor), Stephen Weiss (Det), Greg Campbell (Bos), Mike Richards (LA), Derek Roy (STL), Mikkel Boedker (PHX), Jeff Skinner (CAR) and Gabriel Landeskog (COL)…to name a few.
No stranger to media attention, part of his arsenal includes handling himself with class off the ice, too. Below you can find out more about the new Marlies head coach, courtesy mapleleafs.com and Leafs TV.
It is an exciting time for the Marlies franchise, as they begin this new chapter and Steve Spott has the honour of carving it out on Ricoh ice.
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned to Marlies.ca in the coming days for a further look at what is to come for Toronto’s AHL franchise. A look back at a develpoment camp and a look forward to the season will bring you a little puck content in July.