Rick Charron replaces Ray Irwin as
coach and GM of the Washington Power
July 9th, 2011
Rick Charron knows that becoming the head coach and GM of the Washington Power will be scrutinized because he succeeds Ray Irwin, who won the AFHL Stanley Cup only four months ago.
But Charron, who was highly recommended by Montreal GM Keith Cancilla, is not worried about anything regardless of expectations. He brings an attitude to the team and the league that is second to none.
”Beware of the wrath of a patient man,” said Charron. ”I’m looking forward to that opportunity and challenge. I’m taking over one of the greatest franchises in the history of the AFHL and I’m going to do the best that I can with it.”
Charron was talking over a cell phone that had been bombarded with calls from the curious and the congratulatory following news he would become the new coach and GM of the Washington Power, succeeding Ray Irwin.
Ray Irwin ended one of the most remarkable, although short, coaching careers in AFHL history by retiring only one month after winning the AFHL Stanley Cup. 10 months prior to winning the Cup, his club finished in 17th place in the 2009-10 season. He transformed one of the worst teams into one of the best teams in less than one year.
“It’s so special to have done what he’s done,” Power goaltender Tim Thomas said. “He turned this organization around in such a short period of time. He kept us going. He kept us motivated. For him to go out on top is perfect. I feel like one of the most privileged hockey players in the world to be able to say that I played for him.”
“His mind never stops moving, so he’ll find a lot of things to challenge him and to keep him busy,” said one of Ray Irwin’s daughters from his home office in Vancouver. “I would say it will be nice to have him around the house more, but I’m sure he’ll be constantly on the move for the rest of his life.”
Irwin was a classic engineer who ran the Power like Arthur Fiedler ran the Boston Pops. Irwin dumped personalities, motivational potential, varying grades of skills, hubris, and hunches, into a giant blender that was Irwin’s mind, processed it all, and spit out a Power team that dominated in the 2010-11 season to win the Stanley Cup.
That is an awful lot of genius to ask of the next man.
“I know I’m going to be watched,” Charron said. “I know the team is going to be watched.”
The AFHL commissioner, Anthony Furino, interviewed over a dozen prospective GMs for the Power franchise, most of which were not qualified enough until Keith Cancilla, the GM of the Montreal Xtreme, recommended to him that the best replacement for the team would be Rick Charron.
”It was a difficult decision,” said Furino. “But I just felt in the end that Keith Cancilla is one of the most trustworthy people in the AFHL and Keith knew Rick personally, so I decided Rick was the man for this hockey club. He knows the league, he knows the team, he knows the players, and he knows their roles. More importantly, he is an all-around GM who is active in all areas of fantasy hockey.”
Cancilla knows Charron quite well from playing with him in other leagues.
“He’s great, he’s a players’ coach,” Cancilla said. “He’s a vocal guy, he likes to speak up, he’s someone I’m comfortable communicating with. He gives great direction, and he has my utmost respect. All I can say is, I’m happy for him.”
Everyone understands the Power will reconvene in 2011-12 with about as much muscle and firepower as they carried in wrapping up the Stanley Cup run last Spring. They have three hot goaltenders in Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo, and Dwayne Roloson. They have an offense loaded with superstars. They have a couple nice-looking rookies ready to audition. And they have a new coach.
“I’ve studied the league and I’ve studied the team for a very long time, I know the team has great leadership and are proven winners,” Charron said of the Power. “And whether I like it or not, I’m going to be compared to Irwin, and there are going to be some tough nights along the way. This will be a lot of fun and I’m really excited to get started.”