New Cape Breton Eagles coach lands in nest
Chadd Cassidy says team and QMJHL seem like 'great fit' and 'amazing opportunity'
The new head coach of the Cape Breton Eagles arrived Thursday in Sydney, excited to start his new job.
Chadd Cassidy, 48, from Lake Placid, N.Y., said he didn't know much about Cape Breton prior to signing on with the Eagles.
"I've coached all over the world at all sorts of different levels, but I'd never coached in the Quebec Major Junior [Hockey] League," said Cassidy.
"As I went through the process of doing my due diligence and finding more about the league and the Cape Breton Eagles, it was clear to me that it was going to be a great fit and it was an amazing opportunity for me."
Cassidy's 20-year career has included time with the American Hockey League, with 2½ years as head coach for the Rochester Americans. He also spent five years as assistant coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program, a tenure that included a gold medal at the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championships.
He said he enjoys the opportunity to work with young players.
"You got to play the long game in terms of their development, understanding that they aren't the players at 16 and 17 that they're going to be at 18. There's a lot of development in front of them. And you just got to give them time ... building up really good habits and really good routines," he said.
The challenge of working in a new league is also a draw.
"I think that that's something that's really intriguing for me just in terms of being able to get in and kind of figure this league out, and see the different styles of play," he said.
New coach 'brings wealth of experience'
Eagles president Gerard Shaw said Cassidy's experience developing young players makes him a good fit for the Eagles as the team goes through a building stage.
"We have a young team. Chadd brings a wealth of experience in coaching in the U.S. national development program ... but also knows what it takes to win at the pro side and can guide our team to a winning team," said Shaw.
The team's former coach, Jake Grimes, resigned in November for personal reasons.
Files from Charlie Cuff and Information Morning Cape Breton