This week’s interview is with Dakota Jackalopes coach Flim Dahlgren.
SHL Digest: We’re here today with Flim Dahlgren, who is in his third season as coach of the Dakota Jackalopes. Coach Dahlgren, thanks for speaking with us.
Flim Dahlgren: It feels at times as though interviews are my primary job duty. But I’m pleased to speak with you.
SHLD: You’ve earned a reputation as a coach with a philosophical streak, the kind of person who can turn a routine season-in-review question into a musing on the meaning of winning and losing. Do you think that reputation helps you in working with a young team?
FD: I find this reputation somewhat hilarious, since it is largely based on an interview in which I was in a rather odd mood.
SHLD: Fair enough. But your postgame press conferences are generally considered more eloquent and interesting than most.
FD: I also find it hilarious that any player or coach whose comments deviate from Standard Athlete Cliches #1 through 100 is promptly termed a “deep thinker.” I don’t consider myself a particularly deep thinker, but I do find the Standard Athlete Cliches fairly tiresome. If I repeated them after every game, I would bore myself to sleep.
SHLD: Let’s talk about the Jackalopes, and the ever-present rumors of financial trouble.
FD: A subject I find even more tiresome than Standard Athlete Cliches. But I suppose there is no avoiding it.
SHLD: The Jackalopes have the smallest payroll and the worst attendance in the SHL. In spite of that, the team has been competitive. What’s been the secret to your success?
FD: “Success” seems a bit generous, but thank you. I’ve found that being the underdog is a powerful motivating factor. If there is a secret, I suppose that it has been in getting the players to tune out the off-ice distractions, and focus on the game.
SHLD: But that’s no small task. Every week, it seems there are new whispers that the team may not make payroll or will have to move. Do those rumors make your job more challenging?
FD: Certainly they do; this is not something other SHL coaches have to deal with. Our players read the same news stories you do, and they can look up in the stands and see the empty seats. If every day, someone was telling you that the Digest was about to fold, would you be able to pay attention to this interview?
SHLD: Probably not.
FD: Exactly. I don’t attempt to pretend the stories don’t exist; that would be ridiculous. But I’ve also told them these facts: None of my paychecks have bounced. Neither have theirs. The hot rumor from last year was that the team couldn’t afford to re-sign Ryan Airston; they did.
SHLD: The lesson being: don’t believe everything you read.
FD: Precisely. I’ve urged my players to focus on what they can control, which is our play on the ice. But I’ve also told them to come talk to me if they do read something that concerns them, and I’ve promised them honesty if I hear any news they should know.
SHLD: Speaking of rumors, there’s one we should address: the claims that you were contemplating resignation at the end of last season. Care to comment on those?
FD: How much value is there in reliving the past? Obviously, I remain the coach. I made a commitment to this team and these players, and I intend to honor it. This is a unique job with a unique set of challenges, but I embrace that in full.
SHLD: If the team does wind up moving, would you remain the coach then?
FD: That is tomorrow’s question. My focus remains on today.
SHLD: Understand. Well, thank you for your time and a very interesting interview.
FD: Certainly. I hope this interview hasn’t ruined my deep-thinker reputation.