Aaron Fox, current Sports Director and once also Medveščak's player, will lead the Zagreb Bears team this season! Along with his function of Sports Director, Fox will take over the Head Coach position. Current Head Coach Douglas Bradley will take position of Associate Coach in Fox's team; Carter Beston will be Assistant Coach, Petar Srkablj goalkeepers' coach, and former Medveščak player Marcel Rodman will become Hockey Operations Advisor and one of Fox’s Coaching Assistants
We discussed with Fox his new professional challenge, the reasons for new organization of the coach team, his collaborators, the team and plans for the pre-season and the next season.
Let us know how the coaching staff will be organized for next EBEL season. Who is who? And why did you choose them for the specific positions in your team?
I will be taking over as the new Head Coach, Doug Bradley will be coming back as an Associate Coach, with Carter Beston-Will returning as a Assistant Coach. We have also added Marcel Rodman to our staff. He will be coming into the organization in a joint role, as a Hockey Operations Advisor and Assistant Coach. His role will be supporting Marko Belinic and me on the operations side and he will also support on the coaching staff.
Let us know the reasons why coaching staff is organized like this and how did it happen that you overtook the position of the Head Coach over Douglas Bradley?
We had numerous internal conversations over the summer on the right direction for us to take for this position, and as a team we decided this is what we thought was best for the organization. When I discussed it with Doug Bradley, he also thought this could be a great way forward for us. He really enjoyed the relationship we had last year on the bench and the working environment and both agreed this was a natural fit for us to move into this direction. I could not have a better more loyal guy to support me and the organization in this.
This will not be your first time at the bench as a member of the coaching staff. You have some experience from the last season when you assisted Bradley, and for a short time you lead the team yourself. What are your plans, expectations, feelings about this?
I am really looking forward to the new challenge. I got a good taste of it last season and really enjoyed making a difference in the day-to-day side of things. I got to be a bit more hands on with the players and like being able to implement some things that I think will help us be more successful. My expectations are to give this job everything I have, and I know that by doing that it should lead to us having a successful season.
You also scouted the players. Let us know how you see the team for the next season?
I really like the way the team is coming together. It will be nice to have a good nucleus of guys returning for a change. We were able to keep our best player in Olden which was a big step in the right direction for us. I also really like the new additions. We added a couple solid two-way veteran D-men in Antonin Manavian and Yann Sauve, and then Kyle Hardy who is looking to show that he’s a guy who can be a solid offensive man in this league. Up front I think we have some high end forwards back along with our captain returning, and soon adding two top veteran forwards to the mix, along with a couple younger guys in Sebastien Sylvester and John Armstrong to compete for a bigger role it should allow us to start with a solid roster and gives us room to add where necessary down the line.
What do we expect from the season ahead in terms of the club, but also on the EBEL Championship level?
Our goal is to win and compete for a top 6 spot after the first round. We believe we put together a great group of guys. We will have a good mix of veteran and younger guys. Everybody is hungry to win. We have added some size to our lineup and all our bigger guys skate really well. So we should be a hard team to play against. We want to be a team that plays North and Fast. We will play a up tempo game using our speed to push the pace and make teams play from their own end as much as possible. The key as always will be to get some good goaltending early, If we can start games the right way and dictate our style we will be a tough team to play against. Let's get into the playoffs and hopefully find a way to add another level of compete to our game and see what happens.
Marcel Rodman returns to Medveščak in a new position. How did you decide to invite him to your team?
Marko Belinic and I were looking for someone who could help both inside the office and to the coaching staff, and Marcel was looking to end his career, so this was an easy hire for us. He’s got a great playing resume with tons of experience, and will also be someone we can use in different kinds of situations. He can support the local operations stuff here, as he speaks the language, and will also be a great go between the players and the office. Anyone who knows Marcel understands how hard he will work on this and what he can bring to the organization. We are very excited to have him on board.
Let us know some details, plans, expectations about the pre-season. What are the main goals you would like to achieve with the team in pre-season?
I think our main goals for the pre-season are to create an identity, then implement and dictate the style of how we want to play. Our goal will be to get better every day and build towards 14.9. The other key to the preseason is staying healthy. We want a full team come opening night and guys who are ready to battle for everything. I am also looking forward to some internal competition within our team in practices, as I think we have a much deeper team this year, so everyone will have something to prove.
Last season there were a lot of changes on the goalkeeper position. What do you expect from the goalies – Vilim Rosandic and Linus Fernstrom, for the next season?
Linus is coming from the second best league in Europe and has over 100 games there. With his size and the way he moves, I feel like he should be very effective for us. With Ville, we are looking for him to continue his development. He had a great year last year and gave us a chance to win every time he played. We hope he continues with that this season.
Photo: MDVPRess/Pixsell (c)
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