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San Jose Sharks Stress Passion & Communication in Ryan Warsofsky’s Introductory Presser – Hockey Writers – Sharks Management

Four days after hiring him as their new head coach, the San Jose Sharks held a press conference to introduce Ryan Warsofsky at the SAP Center on Monday, June 17.

This event was not specific, and it is clear that the Sharks are in the first phase of transitioning to a new coaching regime. Avoiding many in-depth discussions of on-ice tactics and strategy, Warsofsky and general manager Mike Grier said those topics will be covered in upcoming team meetings and revealed to the public at a later date. While the plans are still a work in progress, Warsofsky and Grier spoke at length about the two main aspects they believe are important to coaching: a passion for the game of hockey and connecting with the players. With the press conference now over, it’s clear that those signs play a big role in San Jose’s coaching search, and they can be especially important for a team like the Sharks.

Sharks Wanted Those Qualities

Grier understandably did not reveal many details about who he interviewed for the role other than Warsofsky and Ontario Reign head coach Marco Sturm. However, he stated that in all his interviews, he was looking for a passionate coach who would be able to communicate well.

“You can see the passion, the emotion that Ryan has,” Grier said. “That meant a lot to me and the staff. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. You need to care, you need to be loving. You need your team to play that way. It’s an 82-game season. It’s a long season and we have to play with emotion and play with intensity and I think those things really affected me.”

Bringing the passion for hockey will be very important to the Sharks. It’s certainly important for any NHL team, but the Sharks are preparing for a season where they’re going to have a lot of tough times, and they can easily lose their focus because of it. Therefore, maintaining sports enthusiasm will be especially important in San Jose. This mindset starts with the head coach, and Grier believes that Warsofsky is the right person to guide the team in this way.

Ryan Warsofsky, Chicago Wolves (Photo courtesy of Chicago Wolves)

Regarding the communication aspect, Grier cited Warsofsky’s work as a Sharks assistant through the 2023-24 season. Warsofsky focused on the team’s defense, which required him to engage several defensive prospects.

“I think if you ask Henry Thrun and Ty Emberson and Shakir [Mukhamadullin] while they were up here, the care he gave them day in and day out and the ability to continue to work and develop them and spend time with them on video and on the ice,” Grier said. “It was a long season. It would have been easy, as soon as practice was over, I hit the road and got out of there. But he didn’t do that. He didn’t hide the situation we were in and he was punctual and worked with these children.”

Related: Sharks’ Top-5 Farm System Shows Rising Prospect Talent

Between his time with the Sharks the past two seasons and his time in the American Hockey League, Warsofsky has plenty of experience working with young players. He’ll need it even more next season, when the roster will be smaller than it already is. He will have to deal directly with a number of players who are still developing, compared to veterans who may be able to stand on their own. Grier set out to find someone who could do that, and he found that person within his organization.

Warsofsky Shows Interest, Emphasizes Communication

In all his words at the press conference, Warsofsky showed the importance he places on passion and communication. His passion for hockey was evident during his opening statement, where he was heard expressing his emotions while discussing the people who helped him reach the NHL head coaching position.

In terms of communication, Warsofsky agreed with a reporter who suggested that his position as a minor league coach could be beneficial to the minor leagues.

“First and foremost, I have to understand what they are as people,” Warsofsky said. “Are they a visual learner? Can they watch the video? Should there be ski instruction? That will be my job with the next generation, and I feel like I’m not that far away from them, so I understand where they’re coming from.”

At 36, Warsofsky is not only the NHL’s youngest coach but also the same age as many of his players. He must be able to communicate with them in a way that an older coach cannot, and be able to understand the challenges that young people face today. He commented on the role social media plays in the modern NHL, and talked about the pressures prospects can face from agents or family members. His answer was a brief but meaningful overview of ways to engage young players in things that have nothing to do with hockey. This type of communication is an underrated part of being a coach, and it’s something Warsofsky will need to bring as Grier trusts him to bring new success to the Sharks.

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