By Joe Culpepper
©The Pensacola News Journal
PENSACOLA, Fla. – When Dave Farrish was hired last July as head coach and vice president of hockey operations for the Pensacola Ice Pilots, he immediately made an impression with his focus and commitment.
His track record spoke volumes, too. Farrish came to Pensacola after four dominating seasons with the Louisiana IceGators, who he coached to four ECHL division titles. He was ECHL coach of the year in 2001-02 after his IceGators set league records for points (106) and victories (56).
Tonight, Farrish sits on the threshold of a major milestone. The league-leading Ice Pilots (30-11-4, 64 points) play host to the Texas Wildcatters, and a victory would be the 500th regular-season win of Farrish’s 14-year head coaching career.
Farrish, an obvious frontrunner for the ECHL’s coach of the year honor, is 499-397-114 in a career that includes coaching stints in Moncton, Canada, and Springfield, Mass., of the American Hockey League, and Salt Lake, Utah, and Fort Wayne, Ind., of the International Hockey League.
He served one season, 1992-93, as assistant coach to the late Herb Brooks with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League.
He coached his 1,000th regular-season game in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout victory at Gwinnett.
Asked earlier in the week what reaching 500 coaching victories would mean, Farrish, in his typically humble demeanor, shrugged his shoulders.