SARAMPAGE.com caught up with newly named Rampage Assistant Head Coach Jeff Truitt about making the move to the Alamo City and joining the Rampage coaching staff.
Welcome to the Rampage! What are you looking forward to most next season?
Getting back to the American Hockey League and competing at a very high level. I am excited about working with Ray this year in San Antonio and supporting him in what he wants to do and the direction he wants to take the team. I knew a few of the players on the team so I am looking forward to that as well. I am really looking forward to coming to San Antonio and to Texas.
Explain your background prior to joining the Rampage.
Last year I was the director of hockey operations for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League (WHL). I was basically the general manager there. We were very fortunate to have two first round draft picks this year come out of Moose Jaw. Prior to the Warriors I spent two years in Springfield, Mass. with the Springfield Falcons (AHL). My first year was as an assistant coach under Kelly Buchberger and my second year I served as head coach for the Falcons. Prior to my time with the Falcons I spent seven seasons with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL having been able to go to the Memorial Cup three times and winning one championship. Prior to that I was wrapping up my playing career in Scotland and different places along the way. It seems that my coaching career has been more progressive than my playing career but I still enjoy the competition.
How do you and Ray know each other?
I have known Ray for … around 12-15 years. We have always kept in touch over the years with coaching philosophies and bouncing things off of each other. I have also coached against Ray when he was here in San Antonio and I was in Springfield. It’s just one of those situations where you are comfortable with a person so he’s not completely unfamiliar to me. He has a great hockey knowledge, wants to be progressive and move this team forward and that’s what I look forward to is helping him in pushing things forward so I was pretty excited about having this opportunity to coach with Ray.
What do you see your role as next season?
My number one role is to support Ray in whichever way he wants to go. He is the head coach so he will set the course. Whatever has to be done I will do. It doesn’t matter to me what duties he will dictate to me; I will do whatever is asked of me. I believe I will be working with the defensive core this year since that’s what I have primarily done in the past and have had some pretty good success. I think it will be a good partnership.
What have you been doing this summer? Any fun trips?
No fun trips yet. It’s been a fairly busy summer coming out of the WHL there is always administrative things and player personnel things that you have to do. We attended the NHL Draft in LA. We had our annual WHL bantam draft. We also had an import draft for players that can come over from overseas. All of that has to do with investigating players to determine whether there are players that you need on your team or don’t need on your team and trying to balance things out and determine whether you are going to pick a European player. We chose to pick a European player this year so there is a lot of background work that needs to be done for that. Also the move down here has been a little bit hectic. We haven’t taken a lot of trips this year but I imagine that on our trip down here to San Antonio we will stop at places along the way so we will get to have a little bit of fun with that.
How do you like San Antonio so far?
Well I coached here when I was with the Falcons the one year that we came down here (2007-08). My wife and I have been able to walk around the Riverwalk the last couple of days and went to the Alamo. We have always believed that no matter where we go we want to find out about the city. My wife is very passionate about that. I like San Antonio and the weather is nice. It is humid but we will get used to that. The heat doesn’t bother us at all. From what I have seen it is a very beautiful city and a very energetic city and that’s something we want to be a part of so we are excited about being here.