December 18, 2018
By: Kristi Fulkerson
There has been plenty of speculation over the last month (or more) about
what might happen in Philadelphia. Will Dave Hakstol stay or go? Who will
replace him? And when? Well, finally the move has happened and we know that
Hakstol’s tenure with the Flyers is done and 4th-year Phantoms head coach
Scott Gordon will replace him on an interim basis, effective immediately.
The announcement was made officially Monday, creating a few more questions.
How long will Gordon stay? Who will coach the Phantoms? While we know the
short term answers to both, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher says he will take as
long as he needs to find a permanent replacement for Hakstol, stating he
expects Gordon to finish the 2018-19 season behind the bench in Philly.
“I respect the job he’s done in Lehigh Valley. The team has found success,
works hard, and players have development.”
Fletcher emphasized his goal to find a ‘new voice’ to lead the Flyers,
calling Gordon, ‘close yet far enough away’ to bring that. Fletcher later
announced that Kerry Huffman would take the reigns for Lehigh Valley as the
‘Acting Head Coach’ as they continue to search for a new coach. Huffman
join the Phantoms staff as an assistant in 2016.
I spoke to Scott Gordon briefly Monday night as he drove to Philadelphia
after a whirlwind day and had a more in-depth conversation with Kerry
Huffman on Tuesday morning. Huffman said he’s thrilled for Scott to get
this opportunity and is also excited for his new role.
“We’ve got a really good thing going on down here, we have for three years.
I don’t foresee a whole lot changing in terms of our play, we have a pretty
high standard thanks to Scott and what he implemented. Obviously it’s going
to be different because I’m a different person than Scott is, but we have
the same beliefs and values and ideals when it comes to hockey.”
Huffman, 49, will be joined on the bench by fellow former Flyers defenseman
and current Player Development Coach Kjell Samuelsson who will serve as an
assistant coach for the time being. He will work with the defensemen and
Huffman will shift his focus to the forwards and overall team picture. At
practice Tuesday, the team was also joined on the ice by Phantoms Manager
of Hockey Operations, Bill Downey, Flyers Goaltending Development Coach,
Brady Robinson, and Flyers player Development Coach, Brett Hextall.
There is still plenty of uncertainly surrounding the state of the
organization but two things are for sure: Scott Gordon will make his debut
as the Flyers head coach tonight against Detroit and Kerry Huffman will
follow suit Wednesday when the Phantoms host Hershey.
Just like they tell the players, it's the next man up.