Our interview of the week is with Michigan Gray Wolves coach Martin Delorme.
SHL Digest: Today we’re talking to coach Martin Delorme of the Michigan Gray Wolves. Coach Delorme, thank you for talking with us.
Martin Delorme: Thank you.
SHLD: How would you evaluate your team’s performance so far?
MD: I am very pleased with our work ethic. We are playing the good, solid, physical game we need to win. Obviously, we have a strong competitor in Anchorage, so it will not be easy.
SHLD: You have the second-best record in the league, but because you’re in the same division as Anchorage, you might not have a shot at the championship. If you were in the East, you’d be well out in front. Is it frustrating to have to chase the Igloos?
MD: This is not something I think about. We can only play the competition that is presented to us. If we are going to be champions, we will have to defeat Anchorage at some point.
SHLD: So what will you need to do to pass the Igloos and win the division?
MD: Obviously, we will need to perform well in our head-to-head matchups with them. That is our best opportunity to catch up. Otherwise, we need to continue playing our hard-nosed hockey, and hope that they will lose a few. They are a very good, very strong hockey team, but they are not invincible.
SHLD: You’ve made a couple references to your “hard-nosed” and “physical” style of play. That style of play has been a bit controversial around the league. A number of teams, coaches, and players feel that your team crosses the line between playing hard and playing dirty. How would you respond to that?
MD: I make no apologies for our style of play. Hockey has traditionally been a physical, fast-paced, occasionally violent game. To succeed, you need to be skilled and work hard, and you need to be not afraid to dig in the corners and bang along the boards. We are a team that is not afraid to do these things.
SHLD: So you believe that you playing the game how it is meant to be played?
MD: Yes, we are. Other teams complain, but it is because they cannot beat us. We expect it, and if it means they are intimidated of us, that is a win for us.
SHLD: Let’s switch gears for a moment, if we might. Next year, the SHL is expanding to Quebec. You are a native of Quebec province.
MD: That is correct. I am proud Qubecois, and I am very excited that our league is coming there.
SHLD: The owner of the Tigres has made no secret that he would love to bring you back home to be Quebec’s first coach. Does the idea interest you at all?
MD: This is not a matter that I can discuss at this time. I am the coach of Michigan, and we are in the middle of our season. I am focused right now on my team and what we can do to win the championship. After the season is over, then perhaps we can discuss and consider the possibility. But that is not an appropriate matter at the moment.
SHLD: Has anyone from Quebec reached out to you to discuss the possibility?
MD: Of course not. To do so would be tampering. I expect that they may wish to speak with me after the season, if they have not hired another person before then.
SHLD: Fair enough. Thank you for your time, Coach Delorme, and good luck with the rest of the season.
MD: It is my pleasure.