FALCONS STAY WITH ONE OF THEIR OWN


Blaine Moore certainly didn't look like a man who admitted losing a lot of sleep the past week as he stood at a podium inside Club One with his Fresno Falcons jersey flanked by two hockey sticks perched behind him.

The new Falcons coach wore a summer ensemble Wednesday to his coronation: white polo shirt with team emblem, khaki shorts and tan sandals sans socks.

Quite a change from former coach Guy Gadowsky, who dressed formally for special occasions. But that's just one difference Falcons fans will see from Moore, who served as player/assistant the last two seasons.

"I'm more laid back, that's for sure," said Moore, 29. "You won't see me wearing any three-piece suits. Guy liked to yell and shout. My style is to be a quiet leader on the bench."

One reason Moore appeared wide awake and alert was that his selection as coach came as no great surprise. Both Falcons owner Bud Long and Gadowsky supported hiring Moore, and rumors surfaced that several key players would bolt the team if someone else got the job.

"I didn't want the job solely on those rumors. I wanted it on my own," said Moore, the Falcons' third coach since the franchise joined the West Coast Hockey League four seasons ago.

Falcons general manager Brian Viselli cited Moore's loyalty to the organization as the deciding factor among a list of 80 applicants that was narrowed to three.

"The process took a little longer because we were surprised by the amount of interest," said Viselli, who had expected to name a coach last week.

Though Viselli declined to name the other finalists, he said one was an International Hockey League assistant and the other an East Coast Hockey League coach.

"We wanted to keep balance and connections in the community, and Blaine's loyalty was most important," Viselli said. "He lives in town, knows the people and has the respect of his players. It's nice to give a guy who's a hard worker a break."

Moore's contract is for one year, Viselli said, with bonus incentives tied to wins and playoff advancement. He's taking over a club that has made the playoffs in each of the WCHL's four seasons.

Gadowsky left to coach University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He led the Falcons to a three-year record of 106-80-12.

"I came here with the intention of hopefully following Guy. That was my plan all along," Moore said. "My wife Tracey Robertson and I have met some great people here and have come to grow in this community."

Moore coached three games last season when Gadowsky was absent for personal reasons. That brief stint erased any doubts Moore had about running a team.

"After that," he said, "I saw coaching as something I knew I could do."

Moore's first order of business is to re-sign veteran Falcons and make the club a legitimate Taylor Cup contender. He's looking to fashion a more wide-open scoring team supported by a solid defense.

"The idea is to mix the veterans with five or six rookies to give us a good balance," Moore said.

Moore also intends to swerve away from Gadowsky's more conservative style.

"I'm not a dumper and chaser. I want guys who create scoring opportunities and take advantage of transition," he said.

(COURTESY OF JEFF DAVIS OF THE FRESNO BEE)

 

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