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Ep. 12: FLAMES UP CLOSE with Ryan Leslie, guest Glen Gulutzan

Sitting down with an NHL coach after a disappointing playoff sweep is never easy. Thankfully, the hardworking, candid Glen Gulutzan isn't your typical head coach.

Calgary Flames' head coach Glen Gulutzan gestures during a team practice in Calgary, Monday, April 10, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary Flames' head coach Glen Gulutzan gestures during a team practice in Calgary, Monday, April 10, 2017.

Sitting down to talk with the Calgary Flames head coach after a disappointing four-game playoff sweep at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks wasn't going to be easy. 

Thankfully, Glen Gulutzan isn't your typical NHL head coach.  Humble beginnings in Saskatchewan led to a hardworking— yet fair — approach to the sport and the people who play it. 

In the latest Flames Up Close Podcast, Gulutzan opens up on a number of topics that you might not have heard yet from the candid bench boss. 

We discuss his dad, a teacher whose patient approach lends itself to "Gully's" coaching strategies today.  We hear stories of his family cruising across the country in a beat-up old van, while avoiding an arrest for failure to pay at a gas station.

Yes, all part of the glitz and glamour of the NHL. 

Gulutzan is never shy to share a tale from his Las Vegas coaching days. Whether it was a Neil Diamond impersonator or a member of the Cirque de Soleil troupe performing down the Strip, he was constantly in search of players.  It's worth noting that Gully believes the NHL will work in Vegas. Tune in to hear his thoughts on what it will take. 

We talk about his first season behind the bench in Calgary— how it started, where it went, and of course, how it ended. Gulutzan is fiercely proud of the growth he saw in his squad and his coaching staff. 

I asked Glen about this, and it's worth mentioning here.  I've been in every NHL rink and have seen countless coaches, young and old. But I have never seen such respect, admiration, fondness and a sense of brotherhood afforded to anyone like it's given to Gully. There's always a hug, a handshake, an embrace and a whole lot of smiles offered from anyone who crosses his path. 

Hopefully that comes across in the stories and conversation with a good prairie coach who's still working and already preparing for next season. 

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