By Dan Rasmussen
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Just hours after officially putting pen to paper Monday on a contract extension that will keep him in his current capacity as head coach of the Utah Grizzlies for the next two years, Kevin Colley already had his eyes focused squarely on what he hopes to accomplish during that time.
“The security is great,” said Colley, whose team was eliminated in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs by Alaska last Saturday. “(But) if anyone knows my personality, they know I’m never satisfied. I’m a winner. I hate losing. Obviously the security’s good, but I’ll work as hard as I can every day to bring Salt Lake a championship in the next year or two. That’s my goal, and I’ll set out to hopefully achieve that.”
The Grizzlies’ organization, it seems, has all the confidence in the world that the 30-year-old will do everything in his power to accomplish that. Grizzlies CEO Kevin Bruder said the club decided to extend Colley’s deal before the team’s playoff run, and they announced the deal and made it official on Monday.
“We’re very pleased to extend him for two years,” said Bruder. “He was a fantastic addition as our head coach this past season and definitely proved himself in the development of players. The results speak for themselves: We fed six AHL teams and had a number of players he was responsible for, not just this year but also last year, that made the NHL. That speaks volumes for who we are and where we want to go.
“(And) with all those call-ups, we still put together a very competitive team on the ice, and with that, he served his purpose extremely well and deserved to be rewarded and compensated for it.”
Colley played for the New York Islanders in the NHL three year ago before his career was ended by a neck injury.
He was an assistant a year ago for the Utah Grizzlies before taking over as head coach just before the start of the 2008-09 season.
Both goaltender Michael Mole and forward Vladimir Nikiforov went out of their way to praise Colley and assistant coach Jeff Dwyer immediately following the Grizzlies’ elimination from the Kelly Cup playoffs on Saturday, and it seems they love having Colley as their head coach.
“I got to play a lot of games for a coach that I thought did a heck of a job as a first-year coach with what he had to deal with this year,” said Mole. “You wanna talk about a guy that’s had his ups and downs. That would’ve been a rough year for a 10th-year veteran coach, let alone a rookie coach, to deal with what he dealt with this year. I give Colley flying colors for this season.”
With a year under his belt, Colley said he’s looking forward to building the team in the months ahead.
“Kevin Bruder and (Grizzlies owner) Dave Elmore have given me an opportunity to have my first full year of having guys in my mold,” said Colley. “It’ll be my players, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to really make a statement next year to make a push to winning the Kelly Cup.
“That’s my goal, and I’m hungry to get the guys in here that can do it.”