Witnessing personal dreams come to fruition inspires unparalleled feelings of excitement. By the same token, great opportunities are accompanied by great expectations. No one understands this notion more than the new Rampage head coach, Ray Edwards.
Edwards excited to take hold of reins for Rampage
By: Mike Mulhern
CLICK HERE to listen to Ray Edwards' comments upon being appointed Rampage Head Coach.
“Becoming an AHL head coach is a dream come true. I’ve worked hard to get here and have been presented with a fantastic opportunity,” said Edwards.
After enjoying five professional seasons as a player, two as a player-assistant coach and most recently two and a half seasons as an assistant coach for the Rampage, the Phoenix Coyotes have designated Edwards as the man in charge of a team that boasts five NHL first round draft picks and loads of talent. With a solid foundation set in place by the Coyotes, it is now Edwards’ job to ensure that the players continue to improve, as a team and individually, on a daily basis.
For Edwards, the transition from assistant to head coach is not unfamiliar territory. His resume includes six years of professional head coaching experience at the ECHL and CHL levels, compiling a record of 193-151-43 after recording 174 points (83 goals, 91 assists) over seven professional seasons as player. After spending the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons as a player-assistant coach for the Huntington Blizzard of the ECHL, Edwards became the team’s head coach before the 1998-99 campaign.
“It started in a hurry. Charlie Huddy went to the New York Rangers in the offseason and my body had taken a beating as a player so it was probably a good move,” Edwards said, with a laugh. “The bottom line is that I love to teach.”
Edwards, who describes himself as “resilient”, hopes to instill resilience in his Rampage team.
“In order to achieve success, a team has to be able to handle adversity and be both mentally and physically tough. I think the same concept applies to life in general,” he said.
Edwards and Mike Pelino, who joins the Rampage coaching staff from the New York Rangers, where he served as an assistant coach from 2004-09, will bring an upbeat and positive attitude to the Rampage bench.
“I’m fortunate to have someone with Mike’s background to help me lead the club to where we need to be. We’re going to work extremely hard and maintain a team-first attitude, while having fun in the process. I’m excited about making timely decisions, managing the group on the bench and in the locker room, qualities I feel are personal strengths of mine.”
In the end, the foundation has been laid for a successful Rampage season and the Coyotes believe Edwards will be up to the task of seeing it through.