Coach with Quinn Experience

Monsters fan Roy Norman recently had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, getting to spend a game day with Lake Erie head coach David Quinn. Norman bid on and won the "Coach with Quinn Experience" at the annual Tip-a-Monster fundraising dinner last month. He attended team meetings, morning skate, media interviews and more.  Norman recounts his experience for us:

You may be asking yourself what is a 'Coach with Quinn Experience'? I had to ask myself the same thing.

This all started at the 'Tip-a-Monster' event, when my wife had the idea this would be something that we would be interested in doing. How do you say "no" to a girl that loves hockey as much as you do? Exactly, you don't...not if you have to live in the same house with her.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of this all-access experience, which included not only being in the locker room with the team, but also at the pre-game meeting with Coach Quinn, Coach Laperriere and GM David Oliver. I attended the strategy sessions with Coach Quinn and the team. I would get to watch the team practice and have the opportunity to spend some time on the ice skating with the team. During the game, I would get to sit in the ice box seats between the benches behind the glass (since it actually was my wife that won the bidding I planned on letting her sit there with me to say thanks), and when the game was over I would get to attend the post-game interview with Coach Quinn. Discovering the extent of this 'Experience' started making me feel like a kid all over again.

As the day drew closer I began to realize that I was about to do something that has never been done in Cleveland by any other professional team, this thought made my excitement grow with each passing day. When the day was finally upon us I got out of bed four hours before I had to be at there and arrived at The Q forty-five minutes before I could even get in the doors. Time just could not move fast enough for me.

Once inside and all checked in, I was taken straight to Coach Quinn's office. The Coaches and GM were well into “game day mode” going over waiver lines, college prospects, AHL/NHL players and any other player from any other league that might be available to help the team. The morning session consisted of the morning meeting, practice, videos with the team and coaches and changes in strategy for the game.

Even after practice, Coach Quinn’s job was not done. The players are allotted three to four hours to themselves to get ready for the game. It was now time to work out the injured players along with the healthy scratches for the game. There is a brief lunch then it's time to start working on line-up cards, reviewing players, more video reviews of our opponent and our past weekend games.

Like the players, I had a few hours of down time before the game. I was only fifteen minutes early for the afternoon session, maybe I was starting to get a handle on my nerves. My second visit started off with Coach Lappy showing me how video was broken down and how he takes notes throughout the game to mark the video for review at a later time. Coach Lappy also makes out a line-up card for the Power Play and Penalty Kill units for that night’s game, just in case they get caught up in the heat of the moment for the split second decision when the referee is yelling at them to get the special teams out on the ice. During this time Coach Quinn is again reviewing players with the GM that might help us now or in the future. I have been in many locker rooms for the pre-game speech; but, after listening to Coach Quinn inspire our guys, I was ready to HIT SOMEBODY myself! After addressing the entire team it was time for Coach Quinn's meeting with the Special Teams (Power Play and Penalty Kill units). I can't tell you what was said in the meeting; but, I will tell you this, I could hear Coach Quinn's words as Rochester was on its first PP and it was happening right in front of me exactly as he said it would.

The rest of the time after the meetings consisted of talking with the media prior to the game, meeting one-on-one with players for individual coaching, check for updates with the GM, updates from the trainer regarding the players health and ability to play, checking the blackberry, getting ready for the game and talking to me throughout. Making sure I was given the full “Coach with Quinn Experience,” Coach explained team strategies, goaltending, defense, being fair to players and what is expected of players on and off the ice.

As game time is fast approaching, Coach Lappy is talking with defensive players one-on-one, double checking line-up cards and video set-up for tonight's game (yes Coach Lappy doubles as our video tech). Coach Quinn finally has a few minutes to himself as Lappy goes to the bench for warm-ups and to scout our opponent. After just one day with the coaches I felt like I was seeing the game with a new pair of eyes.

After the game, Coach Quinn still has to meet with the media for post-game interviews win or lose, as he is the man who has to take the heat for the team. When asked about the size of the crowd for the game, Coach said, " I guess everybody loves a winner."

In sports a winner is identified by wins and losses, but that's not how I see it anymore. A win for Cleveland is having Coach Quinn and his staff in town. The Monsters have given Clevelanders something to be proud of.

In closing, I would just like to say thank you to Coach Quinn and his staff and tell all of you, if you get a chance to do this, you will never regret the time or money spent. I know I would pay double to do it again! GO MONSTERS! Cleveland you do have a playoff team! There's still room on the band wagon...get on board!

Roy Norman

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