Ducks Notes: With Randy Carlyle’s backing, Steve Konowalchuk finds spot behind Ducks’ bench
ANAHEIM — Fresh off guiding his junior team to a Western Hockey League championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup, Steve Konowalchuk began to consider his coaching future.
There certainly was the allure of getting back into the NHL, where he played for 13 years and once was an assistant with Colorado. There was also leading the Seattle Thunderbirds for a seventh season and remaining close by in the Pacific Northwest as his son, Cole, finished high school.
But when the Ducks were impressed by his work with the T-Birds, Konowalchuk saw it as an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. Knowing their coach, Randy Carlyle, on a personal level provided instant comfort.
“I was going to be picky this year a little bit,” Konowalchuk said. “It just seemed like a spot I was really comfortable coming to with Randy and understanding the organization and the goals. Probably, ideally, I was going to wait one more year. I could have stayed in Seattle and kept coaching there.
“But I thought this was a good opportunity with a team that has high expectations.”
Konowalchuk, 44, was hired in June as an assistant coach as he effectively filled the spot made vacant when the Ducks didn’t renew Paul MacLean’s contract after two seasons. The connection between Konowalchuk and Carlyle goes back to Carlyle’s time as an assistant in Washington when the winger was at the end of a long run with the Capitals.
“He got to know me and I got to know him a little bit,” Konowalchuk said.
Carlyle and the success Konowalchuk had in Seattle also drew the attention of Ducks general manager Bob Murray.
“With Murph, I coached (former Ducks top defense prospect) Shea Theodore so I know they spent a lot of time watching our team play,” Konowalchuk said. “So he probably had a familiar […]