Chuck Weber: "The reason I accepted Medvescak's offer was the people"
Medvescak has a new coach! Forty-one-year-old American coach from Lockport (New York, USA) Chuck Weber will be leading the Bears in the KHL championship '14-15 season. Weber has years of experience, both as assistant and head coach, in the AHL and the ECHL, and has two Kelly Cups under his belt.
"One of the reasons why I accepted Medvescak's offer was for the challenge of coaching in one of the best leagues in the world. However the biggest reason was the people. I've heard nothing but great things about the fan support and the club. It's a first class group that wants to win and bring a team to the ice that the area can be proud of. I am looking forward to moving to Zagreb. I have heard nothing but great things about the city'', said Medvescak's new coach, adding:
''Aaron Fox has put together a strong group that has a winning pedigree. I love everything these guys have accomplished in the past, and that will help us in the season ahead. We have a lot of players on the team, and that depth is going to create internal competition for minutes on the ice and for special team time, which is fantastic. We want to be a structured and competitive team, but most importantly we want to play smart and together. We want to be team that is committed to fighting for every puck."
Weber first dabbled in coaching in 1999, spending the first seven seasons as assistant coach to the Orlando Solar Bears (IHL), Trenton Titans (ECHL), Milwaukee Admirals (AHL), Augusta Lynxes (ECHL) and Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). He first role as head coach came in '06-07 in the ECHL on the Cincinnati Cyclones' bench. He stayed on as head coach and director of hockey operations for four season, and won his team the Kelly Cup in '07-08 as well as '09-10. The same season he won the Kelly Cup, he also set the ECHL record of 71 wins in a season, achieved a record-breaking 17 consecutive wins, and got the John Brophy award for being the ECHL's coach of the year. Weber has spent the past four seasons in the AHL, first as the head coach of the Rochester Americans ('10-11), and then San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panther affiliate). In '11-12 he made it to the AHL playoffs with San Antonio, and made it to the conference semifinals, which no coach from either San Antonio Rampage or the Florida Panthers managed to do in the AHL or NHL since 1996. Last season he worked as the Rampage's assistant coach and director of hockey operations, and in '14-15 he will debut in the KHL as Medvescak's head coach.
''I have many peers that have coached in the KHL and Europe. I have contacted them to get some feedback, and I have heard about the skill of the league's players and the pace of the games, and will watch videos from last season", said Weber, revealing that he followed the KHL whenever he had the time:
''I have kept track of things via the internet, especially players that I worked with in the past. It is a pro league with passionate fans and as a team, you have to be prepared in every game if you want to score those points."
Medvescak's director of athletics Aaron Fox said a few words about coach Weber:
''Chuck is a coach who I believe will fit the identity of what we are trying to do here in Zagreb as a club. He is young and has already proven at a early age that he is a winner. He will come here hungry and ready to do whatever it takes to help us achieve our goals. When you have a season like our last, expectations are high, but I feel we need to be realistic and understand that our expectations should be the same this year as they were going into last year."