By Perryn Keys
© The Beaumont Enterprise
BEAUMONT, Texas – When Tina MacAulay moved with her husband to Toledo, Ohio, last fall, she was impressed with how much buzz the local hockey team received around town.
As for the climate, she was less impressed.
“I loved Toledo and how they supported the team. It was really a hockey town,” Tina said. “But I hated the weather because it was cold. … In Toledo, there was a ton of snow – we’re talking about six inches at a time. I like warm weather.”
Luckily for Tina, her husband, 33-year-old Tony MacAulay, just found a job as the Texas Wildcatters’ new head coach.
Introduced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, MacAulay promised to roll up his sleeves, adjust to the heat and do everything he can to reverse the fortunes of the organization.
“This has to be a situation where we improve,” MacAulay said. “We can’t be scared to make decisions. We’ll do what’s in the best interest of the hockey club. It’s also being ready, with a plan.
“I don’t want to talk about what the plan is, because we may have to deviate from it. But the good news is, we have a plan.”
When the conference was over, MacAulay walked out of the front door of a local restaurant and stepped into the local conditions: 89 degrees, unkind sunshine, brutal humidity.
He’s feeling the heat already. He’s fine with that.
In searching for Robert Dirk’s replacement behind the bench, Wildcatters owner Rick Adams said all along that he wanted a coach with ECHL connections, an energetic person who could recruit talented players to Texas.
MacAulay’s résumé suggests that Adams got what he was looking for.
Earlier this month, MacAulay visited with Adams at his home in Princeton, N.J., where they talked about the team’s future.
“I’ve been getting really excited about Tony over the last couple of weeks,” Adams said. “I was overwhelmed at the number of people, on all levels of hockey – including many head coaches in this league – who said, ‘Rick, this is the perfect guy for you. He is a guy who will win.’ ”