Courtesy of the San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks have a new captain at the helm.
On Tuesday morning at a press conference on the concourse of the SAP Center, general manager Mike Grier introduced the 10th head coach in the franchise’s history in David Quinn.
Quinn, 55, most recently served as head coach for Team USA at both the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and 2022 World Championship. Quinn guided Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the World Championship and helped lead the youngest team in the Olympics to a perfect preliminary round record before suffering a shootout loss in the quarterfinals.
His first and last head coaching stint in the NHL was with the New York Rangers from 2018-2021 and under his direction for three seasons, the team compiled a 97-87-25 record, along with one appearance in the qualification round in the 2019-20 campaign.
One might believe those aren’t impressive numbers, but you need understand the context of his record with the Rangers. He was brought in at a time when the team went with a full rebuild mentality that had a lot of young players, in need of development, on the roster and getting minutes.
“It’s kind of funny, the situation in New York was so unique,” said Quinn. “In the fact that we sent a letter out that we were doing a full blown rebuild. The thought was my fourth year (coaching) was going to be the year that we would be good. And I always say if you want to know what an organization’s intentions are, what are they doing at the trade deadline?”
Quinn alluded to how each year, despite the Rangers trading away star players and having $18.5 million dollars in dead money contracts, his teams were still competitive in trying to make the playoffs.
“When people talk about the New York experience, not just for me but for all of us, we did probably what we were asked to do and maybe a little bit more,” Quinn said.
When asked about what his coaching philosophy consists of and how this group of players will buy into it, Quinn said it all starts with having good relationships.
“My coaching philosophy has always been relationship driven. I don’t care what you do in life, if you don’t have a connection to the people you are leading, whether you’re a manager of an office or coaching a hockey team, you’re not going to get the most out of people. And that’s been the foundation of coaching philosophy regardless of the level I’ve coached at,” Quinn said.
Quinn expanded that his coaching style isn’t just based on the “X’s and O’s” of the game and his desire on the Sharks style of play he wants to incorporate this season.
Quinn said, “It’s personality driven, it’s relationship driven. We certainly want to play a fast, tenacious style of hockey. It’s a game played in a small area. Mistakes happen. We want to be a structured team that plays with freedom. I do believe this team is capable of doing that.”
The relationship between Quinn and Grier goes back a long way and the Boston University connection between the two didn’t exactly hurt the situation.
“I think its just the cherry on top, bringing more (Boston University) Terriers out west,” Grier quipped that received a hearty laugh from Quinn. “
Saying more seriously, that Quinn was hired because he was the best candidate for the job.
Quinn added, “He didn’t hire me just because we are friends or a BU guy.”
Quinn said he hasn’t decided yet on who his assistant coaches will be but has had conversations with a couple of candidates and hopes in the next week once he gets settled in to finalize those decisions.
“You want to hire the right people,” said Quinn. “I’m not going to hire somebody just to have an assistant coach. This is a unique time, late in the process. We’ll go through the right process to get the right people in place.”
Quinn had a very successful collegiate coaching career at BU from 2013-18 and went 105-69-21 under his direction. The program made the NCAA tournament in four consecutive seasons (2015-18), including three regional final appearances, won two Hockey East tournament titles and two Hockey East Regular Season titles.
Quinn said he is excited to be coaching games for the home team as he understands how passionate of a Sharks fan base there is when he was coaching the Rangers.
“When I got the news, I was going to be the next head coach here, I was with my college roommate John Cullen, who played 13 years in the National Hockey League. And the first thing he said to me was, ‘when I was in the NHL, there was not a better building to play in than the SAP arena (Center).’ As an opposing coach, you talk to people (about) going on the road and which building were fun to play in. This was certainly one of the buildings that were mentioned.”
It's not going to be an easy for Quinn and his eventual staff to turn things around for a franchise that hasn’t been to Lord Stanley’s tournament for three years after being used to making the playoffs year after year. Him, along with Grier, are committed to bringing back the winning atmosphere Silicon Valley had desired since the 2018-19 season.
“We want to bring back that winning culture that has been here for a long, long time. We’re very optimistic about the team we’re going to have this coming season. And I can’t wait to get going,” said a confident Quinn.
It’s officially a new era for the Sharks. Will it be more of the recent struggles or a return to glory for the men in teal? Either way, the 2022-23 season will be one full of intrigue. Something that hasn’t been around these parts in a few years.
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Right Winger Kevin Labanc after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Goaltender James Reimer after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Head coach David Quinn after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.