Dan Lacroix’ work behind the Moncton Wildcats bench over the last year has no doubt caught the attention of NHL franchises.
The former NHLer and longtime NHL assistant coach is clearly ready to take head coaching role duties at the AHL or NHL level.
Lacroix took the “rebuilding” Wildcats to all new heights this season by setting up countless young players for success. Lacroix’ systems made the transition to the QMJHL much easier to handle for a very young core group. His work as the season progressed was impressive taking inexperienced team and turning them into an unrelenting juggernaut.
The Wildcats may not have had all the talent, skill or offensive ability, but they never quit on their coaching staff, the system, their character or themselves.
It’s surprising or almost down right shocking to see how well they played coming down the stretch and into the playoffs, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise or shock when you see the sheer impact and influence Lacroix and his staff had on this group.
As the season progressed adversity confronted the coaching staff and team at an alarming rate.
Injuries took a drastic toll on the Cats on paper, but that didn’t hurt the product or results on the ice. Sure, there were some long nights, but through it all Lacroix and his staff did an outstanding job keeping their club motivated, hungry, but most of all focused through unimaginable uncertainty and unknown.
Lacroix’ teaching qualities, quiet, calm, but yet intense demeanor was just what the team needed heading into to the toughest stretch of junior hockey’s vicious cycle.
The sign of a remarkable junior hockey coach and teacher shouldn’t always be judged on the win column, but in the progress and development of players and the ability of that coach to identifying specific roles and ensuring players are set up for success in those roles.
That sounds a lot easier than it really is and that’s what separates the good coaches from the great ones.
You see that’s what makes Daniel Lacroix the perfect candidate for a return to the AHL or NHL coaching ranks, his ability to put players in positions so they can succeed and play their best hockey.
Teacher first, coach second, Lacroix really gives his teams something to believe in every time they come to rink, every time the puck is dropped. There’s no question his arrival in the Hub City was a game changer. Nevertheless, his potential departure which is pure speculation at this time, might also drastically alter the trajectory of the Cats. Time will tell, but there’s no question the AHL or NHL could come calling once again for Dan Lacroix. He certainly deserves and has earned another shot.