The ice calls again. Scotty Gomez knew he couldn’t stay away. Tuesday, the New York Islanders made it official. The Anchorage native will join the club next year as an assistant coach.
“I think this was my calling,” said Gomez. After speaking with other veterans who’ve gone into coaching after their playing days, he was advised this is the way to stay connected to the game he loves. He officially retired from playing last summer and accepted the job after spending this past season as an analyst with the NHL Network.
After speaking with other veterans who’ve gone into coaching after their playing days, he was advised this is the way to stay connected to the game he loves.
“We never get to live that life again being on the ice in the NHL, but this is the next closest thing. But, I’m excited, thrilled and ready to go.”
He’s already spent three days holding meetings with his new employer on Long Island. It includes the man who hired him: head coach Doug Weight.
“I’ll owe this guy for the rest of my life just for giving me the chance and the opportunity,” he said Tuesday by phone.
Gomez now 37, played 16 years in the league– an eternity. He’s known the feeling of lifting the Stanley Cup as a champion twice. Now he wants to bring his experience to the up-and-coming Islanders, who are aiming to recapture their glory days of the early 1980s when they won four consecutive Stanley Cups.
“My job is to work on your game, help you, teach you, not just say ‘Go on the ice.’ And that’s one thing I can provide because I had some wonderful coaches and wonderful leadership.”
Gomez is an admirer of the Patriots’ Bill Belichick and the Spurs’ Greg Popovich. Each has won five championships with his respective team. He intends to bring that winning spirit to his new team.
“It’s my passion, it’s my life.”
And now, the next phase begins. `