Bulls coach leaves champion team for new challenge in Tottenham
Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:14PM EDT
The end of the Stanley Cup marks the final stop of the hockey season for many people in this country.
Thoughts turn to summer pursuits and a bit of a break from the game until it all begins again in a couple of months.
But that's not the case for Ryan Wood, a coach, GM, owner, and so much more.
“I can’t believe we did this. We have the best players from all over Europe and North America and to win this is the best.” That was Wood just three months ago as he led the Bradford Bulls to the Russell Cup championship in his rookie season behind the bench.
Wood has since stepped down in Bradford, now taking the reins of the expansion Tottenham Steam.
He says it won’t be easy, but make no mistake: they’re playing to win.
“I'm a super competitive guy. Anything I do, I do it to the best of my ability. So whether it's hockey, baseball, wrestling, ballroom dancing, I want to be the best,” Wood says.
Considering Wood's track record in building a championship team, Tottenham goalie Jon Strand has this prediction: “We're going to be great. I hope he’s going to do a great job of scouting players and signing them and hopefully we can go all the way.”
That prediction might not be too much of stretch.
“We're a tier-two junior hockey league and the majority of our players aren’t NHL draft picks but they need that confidence to get to that higher level and Ryan’s able to work with the kids to do that,” says director of hockey Bob Russell.
Even his former players sing his praises.
“He's just the best at getting the most from his players,” says Bulls captain Dalton Mills. “He knows how to make adjustments, how to talk to players and how to flick that switch in a player's head and get them going.”
Wood has been on the computer and working the phones ever since he took the new job in Tottenham. While outside of hockey, he's been even busier of late: pitching for Canada's slo-pitch team in the upcoming border battle and recently marrying his girlfriend of four years.
Wood says it’s a challenge to balance it all, but they're making it work.
“She's been great. We'll be watching a movie and I'll get a call from a kid who needs help with something and she knows I have to help and take that call because it's who I am,” he says.
He's proud to say he's making a difference in the lives of the kids.
“That’s a real feather in our hat – getting those kids to college in either NCAA or American hockey, sending kids to the next level is a remarkable feat.”
It hasn’t been much of an off-season for Wood, quite the opposite. He's got about 10 roster spots he needs to fill before training camp in late August and then two weeks later the Tottenham Steam make their GMHL debut.
Three months into the season, Wood will finally get to take his bride on their honeymoon during the Christmas break.