Catching Up With: Riley Cote
Riley Cote was a tough guy at all levels of hockey, and worked for years to get to the NHL. He retired after the 2009-10 season, his fourth in the NHL, and was quickly named assistant coach of the Adirondack Phantoms, the Philadelphia Flyers top affiliate. It may be July, but there are hockey players to be found on the ice at this year’s prospect camp, an important time for everyone in the organization, especially those who coach the younger players. I had a chance to catch up with Cote and ask him about his approach to coaching, camp and his social site activity.
You worked hard to get to the NHL: going undrafted, trying out multiple times and playing a couple of times in AA hockey, once while you were recovering from an eye injury. How do you try and instill that work ethic into your players?
I’ve been a meat & potatoes guy my whole life. I was brought up on hark work and working for everything you have.
Some players aren’t wired the same way and climb the ranks on sheer skill. Every coach expects hard work, but getting your players to step it up to the next level is the tough part. The guys who are either super-skilled or are the hardest workers will always have a shot to make it to the top. Combine those both together and you have yourself a superstar.
Prospect camp is here. There doesn't seem to be any off-season when it comes to development. As the assistant coach of a top NHL affiliate how important is this camp compared to something like the preseason?
I think this prospect camp is a good opportunity for these young to make an impression on the organization and to work on hockey skills while doing that. By no means is it a tryout, but gives the brass more of an understanding of the players they have in the system.
You embrace fan reactions, submissions and descriptions of yourself on Twitter & Facebook, no matter what they are. Were you always this open with the fans?
I think I have always been open with the fans and have built many relationships throughout my career. I treat everyone I meet the same way. The fans are the reason you can play a sport and get paid for it. Without them you’ve got nothing. So I believe that giving back to the fans is very important and encourage my players to do the same.
You're also very open about your personal beliefs on social networks. Hockey seems like it tries to bury personalities. Do you think you'd be the same if you were still playing?
Hockey players are all just regular people and they all have different beliefs and backgrounds. Social networking is huge these days and if a guy wants to speak his mind a bit, in my opinion, go ahead. Guys have fun with it and can stay in touch with their fans. That being said, there is a fine line that needs to be walked otherwise it can create negative attention to the individual, and ultimately the team.