By Jeremy Peter
CINCINNATI – In his 10 seasons as a hockey coach, Chuck Weber has made it to the postseason nine times. Since becoming head coach of the Cyclones in 2006, Weber has guided Cincinnati to consecutive North Division titles and a Kelly Cup championship. Weber recently spoke with The Enquirer’s Jeremy Peter about his career and this year’s team:
Question: You’ve had a lot of success at each stop you’ve made in your career and it’s come in a relatively short period of time, especially in Cincinnati. What do you attribute that to?
Answer: I’ve worked with great coaches along the way, and it’s basically been taking some of their ideas, incorporating it into my belief systems and creating our own identity here in Cincinnati.
Q: The Cyclones have had 53 come-from-behind wins in your three seasons at the helm. What makes your teams so resilient?
A: What my assistant coach Dean Stork and I try to do is instill a positive attitude in these guys, that they’re never out of it, and the guys have embraced that. We have a great leadership group that’s been able to pass that message on to the boys as well.
Q: Fifty-eight players have dressed for the Cyclones this season, causing you to have to draw up something like 44 different lineups. How tough has it been to keep your team competitive?
A: We try to keep things as simple as possible from a system standpoint, and the guys that have been here day in and day out have done a good job instilling the team work ethic. I think a little bit of the success we’ve had is from our ability to be flexible with the team we have. We don’t force our system. We try to take the strengths we have and blend that with the strengths of our players.
A: It’s huge. They’re able to pass on the experience from last year and the lessons that last year taught us, so hopefully we can head off some situations before they develop during the playoffs. We are real big on telling guys they have to check their egos at the door. That’s been the big message that they have been able to pass on to the new guys.
Q: Who’s most likely to fire up his line mates if they come out flat?
A: We don’t really have a big “rah-rah” type room. We’re more of a quiet room, actually, but a competitive room. It’s really a cumulative effort of all the guys working together.
Q: How would you describe the group you have for the Kelly Cup Playoffs?
A: We’re a simple, smart hockey team. We’ve had success through keeping it simple. Every time that we’ve tried to become a team that we’re not, whether that’s a high-octane offensive team or a big banging physical type team, we’ve failed. Our strength is as a collective group.