Thursday afternoon represented a first for Brad Ralph ? he was able to sit down in his office, look at the dry-erase board, and start listing recruiting targets on the wall of his CenturyLink Arena office. The 31-year-old Ralph and his family, just over a month after he was introduced as the new Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Idaho Steelheads, have arrived in Boise full-time. ?It?s been a long month since I was hired,? Ralph sighed as he sat in his office. ?We?re glad to be here and ready to get settled and we?re looking forward to soaking up the Boise lifestyle.? For Ralph, however, the time visiting the Capital City Public Market on Saturday morning, taking a day trip to Payette Lake in McCall, or attending Boise Hawks baseball games on a beautiful summer night will have to be shared with his primary objective ? find and field a championship-caliber hockey team to play in CenturyLink Arena this winter. With the move from Augusta, Georgia (where he had been living as the head coach of the SPHL?s Augusta RiverHawks), to Boise behind him, though, he can focus his attention on recruiting players and filling his roster. He was quick to note that he spent plenty of time with his cell phone glued to his ear while he typed e-mails to players, coaches, and agents over the past month. However, preparing for (and ultimately making) a cross-country move did make him work a little harder than most of his Western Conference coaching counterparts, each of whom held their current positions last season, including Pat Curcio of the expansion San Francisco Bulls. ?I think everyone, myself included, wants things to move a little faster,? Ralph said of the recruiting process. ?But, at the same time, I like the direction and responses from the players we?re in the process of signing and negotiating with.? Idaho, like the rest of the league?s teams, adheres to a strict ECHL policy when it comes to player signings. It isn?t as easy, Ralph noted, as telling the fans as soon as a player agrees to terms. There is a process of contract approval that must be followed before a team can make an announcement to its fans. But that doesn?t mean the former NHL 2nd-round draft choice hasn?t put wheels in motion. ?We?ll have some players back from last season,? Ralph declared. ?We?ll also have some new players and we?ll get players from (NHL affiliate) Dallas and (AHL affiliate) Texas.? Then, he observed with a smile, the fun begins. Getting the players on the ice at training camp in anticipation of the October 12 opener at home against the Utah Grizzlies.
Ralph settling in to role as Head Coach
Wednesday, August 1st
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