Following up on yesterday’s articles…
Reign President Justin Kemp said that former LA King Mark Hardy is on the short list of final candidates for the open head coaching position in Ontario (ECHL).
Here are some initial comments from a subsequent conversation I had with Hardy following my meeting with Kemp yesterday…
“I’d be honored to work for the Kemp family again,” began Hardy. “Hopefully, I can help the Ontario Reign bring the Kelly Cup to Southern California.”
– On the fact he never formally interviewed with Kemp, only spoke with him by phone: “Hopefully we can sit down and talk about things further. I hope it was a step in the right direction, that’s for sure. Just to be considered for it is quite an honor to me. I do have a relationship with them from working in Long Beach (Ice Dogs). And when I coached the Los Angeles Blades under Jeanie Buss (pro roller hockey), Justin worked for us at the time. So, we’ve had a long relationship. I’m confident that he knows my qualifications fit the bill and I’d be honored to have the opportunity to work for them again.”
– On what’s next: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know there’s a process they have to go through. Obviously, everybody has to agree on it. I’m just thrilled to be one of the candidates and about the opportunity.”
– On his name being sent to the Kings, as part of the final list of candidates: “I hope that they know I would do everything that I possibly can to make the Reign successful. What I do is develop young players and communicate with the older players. So, the Kings definitely know that I’m qualified for the job. I’m hoping that Ron (Hextall) takes into consideration that I have been a King my whole life, I’m just dying to get back into hockey and what a great opportunity it would be for me to get back into hockey in Ontario – at this time and at this place in my life.”
– On his current relationship with the Kings (i.e. being at Staples Center and around the organization more during the second half of last season): “Everybody’s been very, very welcoming to me – the people from the Kings, the people in the offices, all the Kings fans have been so supportive to me and have said ‘We’d love to see you back behind the bench again and we miss you.’ That means a lot and many times it’s brought tears to my eyes. I’ve grown up in hockey and it’s been my passion. To have been away from it for the last 15 months has been very, very tough on me. Now that my family has put this behind us, we all live together, I’m hoping that that won’t be part of it and that they’ll make the decision from the hockey side of it because I believe I’m the most qualified for this job.”
– On his qualifications for the ECHL: “I do have a lot of people that I know in hockey. I know a lot of scouts around the league and I know a lot of general managers. I know a lot of coaches around the league who would be able to inform me about certain players that would fit the way the Reign want to play. Obviously, I would have some learning curves, no doubt about that. However, I believe with the contacts, with the help of Ron Hextall, with the help of the Kings, I believe I would be the right fit for that team. I would have to learn some things on the go, but I’m more than willing to do that. I believe I could learn quickly and would work as hard as I possibly could to make the Ontario Reign successful.”
I’ll have more with Hardy up later – where we talk about the possibility of him coaching without an assistant in Ontario, being involved in player decisions and the help he was offered from former Reign coach Karl Taylor.
If you haven’t so yet, be sure to check out the podcast we did with Hardy a few months ago (linked below). He talks openly about the events of the last few years, on and off the ice. Plus, he offers opinions on several of the Kings current players.
Reign President says ‘Mark Hardy is on the short list of finalists – also notes on Craig Johnson
MayorsManor audio interview with Mark Hardy – what happened and what’s next
Drew Doughty comments on former coach Mark Hardy
Interview with Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford – talks JF Berube going to Ontario
Coach Karl Taylor on the Reign’s poor season – ‘It’s all on me!’
Many frustration for Ontario Reign President Justin Kemp – posted earlier today
Interview with Ontario Reign President Justin Kemp – October 2010
Confusion reigning between Kings and their ECHL affiliate?