For a second consecutive off-season, the Pensacola Ice Flyers have the “Help Wanted” sign hanging behind the bench.
Team owner Greg Harris announced Monday that Rod Aldoff would not be returning for the 2017-18 season.
“I had a feeling it was going to happen, but I wasn’t too sure,” said Harris. “I know it took a little longer than we had wanted to, but I fully respect his decision. We both knew when he came back in mid-February that it was only for that three-months or so to finish off the season, and we would reassess in May and June.”
The announcement of a new coach just before the start of player recruiting for the ten clubs in the SPHL.
“That’s when everything really starts, because the [National Hockey League] draft is over, and the teams are starting to fill in where they didn’t get draft picks,” said Harris. “Everything does kind of shake up. There’s not a lot of action before the draft, but come mid-July everything really starts to ramp up.”
“We have been speaking a lot since the season ended, and just going about daily business,” said Aldoff. “But I had to come up with an answer quickly so everybody could move on.”
Rod Aldoff coached the Ice Flyers for three seasons, winning a pair of Southern Professional Hockey League championships. After a short stint as coach of the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, he returned to Pensacola last February when Kevin Hasselberg was fired.
“Pensacola’s been very good to me, and the organization and Greg; and I obviously missed coaching and wanted to get back in it,” said Aldoff. “So the opportunity came about and I took it. But with the intention finishing the year and going from there. I still want to move up in the game, the higher levels, and keep climbing the ladder as far as I can.”
The Ice Flyers finished in seventh place, and reached the semi-final round of the playoffs before getting bounced out by eventual champion Macon. Aldoff says while the team he rejoined was not in disarray, there was a different atmosphere.
“Sometimes those things happen,” Aldoff says. “We had some good players on our team, a good group of guys. I think everybody jumped on board quickly, and everybody pushed forward hard right to the end.”
Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris has been talking with a number of potential coaches the past few weeks – a “Plan-B” in case Aldoff decided not to come back. And Harris has some definite ideas about what they need to provide behind the bench.
“Being a good leader [with] good character as well; those are always important to me,” Harris said. “And obviously, I want him to bring a championship to us, [laughs] like any owner does.”
The puck drops on the new Ice Flyers season October 20 at Macon; the home opener is October 27 against the Mississippi RiverKings.