Stability is the first goal for new Vancouver Giants head coach Glen Hanlon.
The 59-year-old was introduced to the media as the second general manager in club history on Thursday morning.
“It has been written and well documented how many coaches have come and gone, it is hard on management,” he told the Times by phone on Thursday morning.
“The first thing we are looking for is to stop that and create stability. That is first and foremost.”
Hanlon replaces Scott Bonner, who announced he was stepping down in December.
Bonner stayed on through the season, one which saw the major junior hockey club miss the Western Hockey League playoffs for the second straight year.
Hanlon’s most previous coaching job had been in Switzerland with the Swiss men’s national team program but he stepped down and returned to North America in October.
“This job here was a perfect fit for me and in our business of hockey, very seldom do you get a perfect fit where you are going to be happy professionally and then your family is going to be happy,” he explained.
His wife is a teacher in South Delta and his son goes into Grade 9 next year, also in the district.
“At this stage of our family’s lives, it is an absolute perfect fit and the job itself is a great fit for where I want to be in hockey.”
Since returning to North America, Hanlon — who made no secret of his desire for the Vancouver job — figures he has watched about a dozen Giants games.
But this is not his first time working for the organization as he served as an assistant coach under Don Hay from 2011 to 2013.
Since Hay left the organization after a 10-year run in 2014, the Giants have had three coaches over the last two seasons, not including interim coaches.
Majority owner Ron Toigo has interviewed a long-list of candidates and that has been whittled down to a handful, Hanlon said, adding he expects to continue interviewing potential coaches through the Memorial Cup, which kicks off this weekend in Red Deer.
The new coach will work in tandem with Hanlon, but Hanlon said he will not dictate which players to use or what system to play.
“But I do believe within my experiences that we work closely with managers and they usually are a good source of information and they can be a good sounding board,” he said.
Typically, managers last longer than coaches, but Hanlon knows they need some stability behind the bench.
“We don’t want to keep on bringing in people with different philosophies on how we play here and what it is to be a Vancouver Giant from 2016 on,” he said.
The team, which will play out of the Langley Events Centre, was plagued by injuries this past season, including potential NHL first round draft pick Tyler Benson, who missed the majority of the campaign.
Not having their expected full line-up resulted in the team making trades to try to shore up the team in the short term.
Hanlon said it is too early to know what their line-up contains.
“Certainly not enough to make a final decision,” he said.
“We will sit down with our scouting staff and we will go over all our players, each and every one of them and what they bring to the table, where we see them at their top end out within a four-year flow chart and we will make a decision from there.”
As for serving as general manager for the first time, Hanlon said his familiarity with the Giants and the market should help.
“I have been in BC for a long time, I know the people, they know me, they know what I am about, there is not a feeling out process for them or for me and I think that is huge,” he said.
“A big part of this job is winning but just as big is making sure your brand is represented as well. You watch the major players in the market — with Trevor (Linden) with the Canucks and Wally (Buono) with the Lions and Bobby Lenarduzzi, (with the Whitecaps), what they each do and bring and how they do a great job on selling their brand.”
Hanlon was a Canucks draft pick in 1977 and the goaltender played for Vancouver, the St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings during his 14-year professional career.
He has been in the NHL as a coach since 1995, serving as an assistant with the Canucks and then after a head coaching stint int the AHL, he was an assistant with the Washington Capitals before being promoted to the Caps head coaching job as a mid-season replacement. He served two full seasons and was fired 21 games into the 2007-08 NHL season.