Friday marks the start of a new era for the Victoria Royals as they have a new head coach. Dave Lowry at been at the helm the past five seasons but he’s moved on to the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. With the start of the WHL season this weekend, Dan Price makes his Royals’ head coaching debut. Andy Neal has more.
You would think a man getting set for his first game as Victoria Royals’ Head Coach would be a little nervous.
But the butterflies aren’t quite fluttering for Dan Price.
“I keep waiting for the nerves to show cause it’s an exciting game, it’s a first, as you mentioned, personally,” Price said.
“But I just feel so much comfort with this group.”
Price joined the Royals last season and a new door opened after Dave Lowry left for the LA Kings.
The impact of one season under Lowry, the WHL coach of the year twice in five seasons with the Royals, got Price ready for the limelight.
“How to support the players, but also have high expectations and a high standard of performance that’s expected,” Price said.
“So that to me was just such a huge advantage, I’m just grateful to Dave.”
Being the third head coach since the franchise moved from Chilliwack in 2011, Price is the first without NHL experience.
But that is in no way a gauge for his coaching potential.
“It’s funny cause when I watch, I watch our guys and I don’t really pay enough attention to their team,” Royals’ Assistant Coach Doug Bodger said.
“But he’s watching everything and it’s not easy to do, so he’s got great qualities there and he sees everything, which is great.”
It’s a new person behind the bench for the players, and Price’s attention to detail and communication hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Everything that he’s been implementing, he’s taught very well,” Royals’ defenceman Scott Walford said.
“It’s not just throwing us into the fire. He’s teaching to us, we’re doing a walk-through and then we’re putting it into a game situation.”
“We’re able to kind of talk to each other and be honest with each other and just focus on what’s best for the team,” Royals’ forward Matt Phillips said.
“I think we kind of work well together and I think a lot of the other players would agree with that.”
“Instead of just speaking to the team as one organism, I feel that we as coaches can reach each player individually, which I really believe is important,” Price added.
With points finally on the line this weekend, win number-one in Price’s coaching career would be special.
“It will be a reward for the group, for all the work they’ve put in and a first step, hopefully, towards more wins to come for the rest of the year.”