Warsofsky looks to lead Sharks out of the cellar

Warsofsky looks to lead Sharks out of the cellar

SAN JOSE — The Sharks introduced Ryan Warsofsky as the team’s 11th head coach in franchise history this past Monday afternoon on the north concourse of the SAP Center.

Sharks' president and CEO Jonathan Becher, as well as general manager Mike Grier, spoke first with their remarks on why they chose Warsofsky to succeed David Quinn, who was let go after two seasons behind the bench, before turning the spotlight over to the man of the hour.

“Ultimately, Ryan (Warsofsky) really separated himself from the pack,” Becher said. “Yes, for all the hockey reasons—his game plan preparation, attention to detail, and frankly, he’s been a very successful head coach before. It goes beyond that. Ryan’s communication style, his authentic way of dealing with everybody, the deep knowledge of the situation we’re in right now, and frankly, Ryan, what really stood out was your passion for San Jose.”

Warsofsky becomes the youngest head coach in the NHL at the tender age of 36. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach under Quinn, so he knows and appreciates the challenge of helping bring the Sharks into the next phase of rebuilding a team that has missed the playoffs for the past four seasons.

“I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Warsofsky said regarding the Sharks' rebuild. “The hopes and excitement for the future here, I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Warsofsky comes off as a humble but no-nonsense type of person who has the respect of the players in the locker room and has helped develop some of the young players on the team, including defenseman Henry Thrun, who appeared in 51 games for San Jose last season.

During his press conference, Warsofsky became emotional as he thanked several people who have helped him throughout his coaching career, getting choked up along the way, including past coaches he has worked with and his family, who were in attendance in the front row. One was his good friend Rob Concannon.

“I emailed the guy when my first year was done at Curry (College). It was an assistant job that opened in South Carolina in the ECHL. Rob Concannon, who’s here,” Warsofsky said. “I emailed him, and 10 minutes later, he called me, which changed my life forever. He’s got some sprinkled dust down there because he’s hired three NHL head coaches: Jared Bednar and Spencer Carberry. He’s one of my great friends, and I love you, Rob,” Warsofsky said.

When asked what type of style the Sharks will play under his guidance, Warsofsky said he wants his team to play not only with an edge but also as an entertaining product.

“We want to be fast. We want to get on teams. There will be a very distinct look to what our team looks like. I can tell you that right now. I think fans will leave our building and say, 'Wow, that was a fun team to watch, win or lose.' The opponent will say, 'Man, that was a tough team to play against.' I think there’ll be some changes structurally for sure. But I think you’ll be proud of the team that we put on the ice. It will be clean. It’ll be structured. There will be an effort that will be distinct throughout the whole building,” Warsofsky elaborated.

Warsofsky said he is excited about getting to coach all the Sharks' up-and-coming prospects, including Will Smith, Filip Bystedt, and the 2024 number one overall pick, which the Sharks have for the first time in franchise history, expected to be Macklin Celebrini out of Boston University, who just turned 18 this past Thursday.

Warsofsky’s familiarity with the current Sharks lineup and his ability to connect with the players is what won him over with Grier and Becher.

Warsofsky has had success as a head coach in junior hockey and at the AHL level. He led the Chicago Wolves to the AHL’s best regular-season record with a 50-16-5-5 record (.724) in 2021-22 and captured the 2022 Calder Cup, his second Calder Cup Championship, earning a 14-4 record over four different series during the playoffs. The year prior, in his first stint with Chicago, Warsofsky guided the team to the third-best record in the league (21-9-1-2), but the AHL did not hold a formal playoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his two seasons, the Wolves amassed a 71-25-6-7 record, and the team’s penalty kill ranked in the top 10 twice (2021-22, fifth; 2020-21, ninth) and the power play ranked fourth in 2020-21.

Prior to his time with Chicago, Warsofsky worked with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) for two seasons. He started as an assistant coach in 2017-18 and helped the team capture the Calder Cup in 2017-18, overseeing the top penalty-killing unit in the League (86.6%). The following year, in the abbreviated season, he was named the League’s youngest head coach (31) on July 10, 2019, and guided the team to a 34-22-5-0 record, ranking third in both power play and penalty kill percentage.

As head coach in the AHL with Chicago and Charlotte, Warsofsky earned a 105-47-11-7 record (.671).

Warsofsky also worked with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays for five seasons, including two seasons as head coach/director of hockey operations (2016-2018) after starting as an assistant coach. In his two seasons at the helm, South Carolina posted an 88-44-10-2 record and the team advanced to the Kelly Cup Final in 2017. Warsofsky has also worked as an assistant coach in the NCAA with Curry College for one season (2012-13).

Internationally, Warsofsky served as an assistant coach on Team USA’s 2023 World Championship staff, helping guide the team to a fourth-place finish at the tournament.

Next for Warsofsky is building his coaching staff and getting ready for the NHL Draft along with Grier and his staff, which will take place on June 28 and 29 at The Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Sharks still have a long road ahead to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but with the incoming prospects ready to jump up to the next level and some room under the salary cap to spend on free agency, they now have a new, young captain at the helm ready to bring them out of the cellar—hopefully sooner rather than later.

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