The expansion Boston Badgers won’t take the ice until next season, but this week they hired the man who will serve as primary architect for the franchise. On Wednesday, Badgers owner Paul Galette held a press conference to announce that he had hired Jody Melchiorre as the team’s first general manager.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people trying to find the right person to build this team,” said Galette. “But as soon as I started talking to Jody, I knew I’d found my guy.”
The 44-year-old Melchiorre had been the assistant GM for the Anchorage Igloos. Galette is close friends with Igloos owners Leslie and Colin Mills, and they reportedly recommended him highly for the position. Melchiorre’s primary area of responsibility has been the draft; in his tenure with Anchorage, he selected quality players such as C Derek Humplik, D Sebastian Pomfret, and D Tony Citrone.
“Seeing the kinds of talent that Jody was able to find even with the low picks that Anchorage has had,” said Galette, “tells me that we’re dealing with a great judge of young talent. That’s exactly what we’re going to need.”
Melchiorre is a native of Worcester, and grew up idolizing Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque. He went on to star in high school and college, where he earned the nickname “Zorro” for his cunning and quick-strike ability, as well as his penchant for dressing in all black. An injury ended his playing career in the minors. He wound up coaching at various levels for almost a decade before moving into a front-office role, which he said better suited him. “I didn’t have any great ideas about strategy or motivating players,” Melchiorre admitted, “but I was real good at figuring out who the real prospects were. So I figured I’d better try to become a GM.”
Melchiorre said that he plans to build a scrappy, hard-working, hard-hitting team. “Boston is a blue-collar town at heart, and they like blue-collar teams,” the new GM said. “We’re going to be looking for the kind of players with that kind of hard-work ethic, the guys who hustle and get the most out of their talent.” He suggested that he would likely look to build around defense, citing the Michigan Gray Wolves and Quebec Tigres as examples. However, he noted that his approach might vary based on the available players in the expansion and entry drafts.
The new GM intends to start identifying and interviewing coaching candidates within the next several weeks, and plans to make a hire before the end of the season. He said that he would like to involve the coach in player personnel deliberations.
The other 2018 expansion team, Kansas City, has yet to announce a GM. In fact, they have yet to announce a name. Owner Hal Messinger plans to unveil the team’s name later this month, and rumor has it that he hopes to introduce his general manager at the same time.