The Sound Tigers 2012-13 home opener is just 87 days away. And while the fans will certainly be excited when the Sound Tigers take the ice on Oct. 13 at Webster Bank Arena, perhaps no one will be more excited than their new head coach – Scott Pellerin.
“It all happened somewhat quickly,” said Pellerin, who served as the assistant coach of the Manchester Monarchs for the past six seasons. “I didn’t have a contract for next season, so I was a free agent, so to speak.”
The Sound Tigers’ head coach vacancy opened up when Brent Thompson was promoted to assistant coach of the New York Islanders just a few weeks ago. Pellerin’s contract with Manchester expired this summer, allowing him to explore other opportunities. After six seasons as an assistant coach in the AHL, Pellerin feels he’s ready to take this step.
“I’m 42 years old and have been an assistant coach for six seasons,” Pellerin explained. “I was looking for the opportunity, and sometimes those chances don’t come along. I’ve learned so much from Coach (Mark) Morris in Manchester, and had a lot of responsibility early on. I had great support from the Monarchs and I look forward to this next chapter of my coaching career with the Sound Tigers.”
Official Press Release - Scott Pellerin Named Sound Tigers Head Coach
Pellerin spent four seasons at the University of Maine from 1988-92 alongside current Islanders GM Garth Snow. His impressive collegiate career included 223 points in 167 games, and concluded with the Hobey Baker Award which his 57-point performance in the 1991-92 season.
“I’ve got to thank Garth (Snow) and Jack Capuano for this opportunity,” Pellerin said.
“(Knowing them) makes this transition a little easier obviously, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of this great organization.”
Pellerin is also familiar with Sound Tigers assistant coach Eric Boguniecki. Boguniecki spent his collegiate career at U-Maine rival University of New Hampshire, and also crossed paths with Pellerin during their professional careers.
“Pelly is a great person and was a great player,” Boguniecki said. “We played a little bit in St. Louis together. We’re similar in a lot of ways in terms of how we played the game. He was a real hard worker on the ice, and I’m sure his coaching approach is the same.”
Boguniecki believes his familiarity and friendship with Pellerin will be a key to the Sound Tigers success this season. Boguniecki also played and coached alongside Brent Thompson prior to last season when both joined the Sound Tigers staff, and knows how important that relationship can be.
“I think it’s really important to have that close relationship,” Boguniecki explained. “Tommer and I have a great relationship and we we’re pretty close prior to coming to Bridgeport. Knowing Pelly and having that relationship is going to be really helpful, and I think that all of the players in the locker room will feed off of that.”
Pellerin brings more than just his six years as an assistant coach in the AHL to the Sound Tigers. The Shediac, NB native appeared in 864 combined games in the NHL and AHL, including 536 games in the NHL from 1992-2004 with seven different teams. He’s played in nearly every situation professionally and collegiately, and believes that experience is one of his strongest assets he brings to the coaching ranks.
“I’m from the Maritimes in eastern Canada, so I feel I can relate to those players…I’m bilingual and speak French, so I can relate to them.,” Pellerin explained. “I went to high school in Saskatchewan, so I think I can relate to the western Canadian players… I played for the Canadian World Junior Team, played college hockey, AHL, NHL, and back to the AHL…I feel I have a lot of real-life experiences that I can relate to these players. That’s the level of communication you need these days.”
Pellerin has coached against the Sound Tigers over 25 times during his tenure in Manchester. He’s seen different groups come through Bridgeport, but was particularly impressed by last year’s Sound Tigers squad that put together the second-best post-Christmas record in the league and won the Northeast Division.
“I thought the job Brent did with this team last season was unbelievable…obviously the leadership from Jack Capuano, the system put in place and the draft picks have come together,” Pellerin stated. “If you would have asked any of our players in Manchester last season what teams were the toughest to play against, the Sound Tigers were a top-three team in the league alongside Hershey and Norfolk.”
That hard-working, blue-collar style of play that Sound Tigers fans grew accustomed to seeing last season doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. Pellerin’s message is no different from what Thompson put in place last season.
“I may have my own style and way of coaching, but the message will stay the same,” Pellerin said. “We will continue to develop the young talent in this organization and strive for success. We’ll be a hard-working, well-structured team that will come to play every single night. This team was one of the tops in the league last season with their talent and how they played the game, and I look forward to continuing that effort.”