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
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
"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)