By now we’re all aware the Indiana Ice fired coach Kyle Wallack on Monday, a week before the USHL playoffs start.
As it stands, it appears Indiana will walk into the postseason with the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Maybe that gives interim head coach Charlie Skjodt, who coached the team last year, some more time to work with the team.
Coaching turnover has always been considered normal given this is a league used to feed college or in the case of former NTDP coach Ron Rolston, a professional organization.
Eleven of the league’s 16 teams since April 9, 2011 have replaced their coaches due to coaches moving on to another position or because their teams have made firings. The five clubs with no changes are Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Lincoln, Sioux Falls and Waterloo.
Wallack’s dismissal marks the sixth time this season a USHL franchise has fired its coach. Some wonder what affect will this latest move will have on a team which could go far in the post-season.
No one knows but what we do know is how the other moves worked out. Here’s a look back at the team’s that made changes behind the bench and what’s happened so far:
Fired: Bliss Littler
Replaced With: Mike Aikens
The Result: Omaha comes into this weekend a point out of first place in the West and are guaranteed a first-round bye if they win this weekend. It it is a major turnaround compared to how the season started. Omaha had trouble scoring goals relying on a young defense and a rookie goaltender to win games. Thanks to some moves and trades – actually made by Littler – this team appears geared to go the distance in the playoffs.
Fired: Drew Schoneck
Replaced With: Josh Hauge
The Result: Hauge helped Tri-City make up some ground as they’ve clinched a playoff spot where they will either play Waterloo or Fargo in the first round. Hauge’s wide-open style of hockey has seen the Storm get wins over squads like the Force to name a few. A stronger offensive style accompanied by goaltender Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay/Minnesota) makes this team a likable option to pull off either a first-round upset or at least a first-round heartattack.
Fired: Kevin Patrick
Replaced With: Jim McKenzie
The Result: Muskegon still suffered through a tough year but did show some signs of a turnaround. It seems like every time they play the Green Bays of the world, they do not look bad by any means. McKenzie’s real test will come this off-season when he tries to build a team through the drafts.
-Des Moines Buccaneers
Fired: Regg Simon
Replaced With: Graham Johnson (interim)
The Result: Simon’s firing came not that long ago so its really hard to say long-term what the impact will be. But for now, a 12-game losing streak isn’t exactly a good thing and considering Omaha and Indiana, which play Des Moines this weekend, have something to prove it could be a while before this streak is snapped.
Fired: Kyle Wallack
Replaced With: Charlie Skjodt
The Result: At least with Skjodt, you get someone who is familiar with the inner workings of the franchise, the Eastern Conference and the playoffs. What happens in the playoffs remains to be seen.