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Gomez returns to the NHL, not as a player

By Dave Leval 7:43 PM June 30, 2017

He’s back on the ice — once again involved with the sport he loves, but, this time, Scott Gomez finds himself in a new role.

One year after he retired, the Anchorage native is in his first season as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.

“This year feels like I’m going back to training camp, feels like I’m kind of training again this summer, maybe not physically, but, mentally with coaching, getting notes, going over coaching with every player, ex-player I’ve known, coaches I’ve had, so, I’ve got projects again, got homework, I love having a routine, because last year was pretty tough,” Gomez told KTVA Sports during his recent trip home.

Gomez retired in 2016, after a 16-year NHL career that included two Stanley Cup titles with the New Jersey Devils. He finished with 181 goals and 575 assists.

Retirement did not suit him. “You didn’t have a routine, I was a lost soul, I didn’t know what to do,” said Gomez.

“You didn’t have a routine, I was a lost soul, I didn’t know what to do,” said Gomez.

However, Doug Weight did. The Islanders head coach called Gomez a couple of months ago — with a job offer. “I grew up idolizing the guy, and then I got fortunate enough to play against him in the league, the World Cup he was

“I grew up idolizing the guy, and then I got fortunate enough to play against him in the league, the World Cup he was tremendous to me,” Gomez recalled about his longtime friend.

He believes his time on the ice will help him in his new role.

“I got to see the way it should be done, the way it shouldn’t be done, and that’s when the fire started to lit up inside me, no way should it be going on like this,” said Gomez.

The Islanders have not been a force in the playoffs since they won their last of four straight Stanley Cups in 1984. They got knocked out of the post-season in the first round, seven of the last eight times they made it to the playoffs. Gomez hopes to change that.

“That’s one thing that Dougie (Weight) stressed to me, anything you thought of the Islanders, get rid of it because this is where we’re going, this is what we want,” said Gomez, which is what he wants, in his second career in the NHL.

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