Glen Hanlon eyes Vancouver Giants GM gig
Giants forward and Team Cherry captain Tyler Benson (lower-body injury) hopes doctors soon clear him to skate ahead of CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game
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Glen Hanlon will be back in a familiar spot next week, behind the bench at the Pacific Coliseum.
For now, at least, it’s a one-night-only occurrence. Hanlon was named an assistant coach for Team Orr for the upcoming CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 28 in Vancouver. He’ll work that bench with the legendary Bobby Orr and Sportsnet analyst Todd Warriner.
(Team Cherry’s assistant coaches were also announced: Brian Kilrea, Bert O’Brien, Brian Sutter and Colby Armstrong.)
The last stop in Hanlon’s lengthy coaching resume was with the Swiss national team, however in October, both sides mutually parted ways, according to an IIHF release.
That has left Hanlon, 58, once again looking out for opportunities in the hockey world, including one right here in Vancouver with the Giants, a team he used to be an assistant coach with from June of 2011 to May of 2013.
The Giants are in the market for a new general manager, after Scott Bonner announced he’d be leaving the organization to begin a new career with The Sports Corporation.
Bonner agreed to stay on with the Giants until a replacement can be found.
“I feel that I’ve got one more job in me and I want to do what’s best for me to help me win,” said Hanlon after a press conference in Vancouver on Wednesday.
“Being a general manager is a lot of fun. Being able to choose the players and to be involved in building a staff away from the rink is a lot of fun and to put … your footprint on that organization I think is motivating.”
Giants’ owner Ron Toigo said the search for a new GM is ongoing, but ideally he’d like to have the successful candidate in place by the WHL bantam draft, which is typically held in early May.
As far as possible job prospects go, Hanlon believes he’d be looking at head coaching positions in the AHL, assistant coaching positions in the NHL, or work in junior hockey.
“When you’re not working, you have an eye on everything,” he said. “So you look around. For me, there’s certain checklist you try to hit.
“For me when I look at this job here, it’s my hometown so to speak – my adopted hometown, I guess. It’s a great organization that has a winning tradition, so certainly if there was a vacancy, I would enjoy that challenge.
"But … it’s hard to get these jobs and there’s a lot of qualified people out there, so you don’t limit yourself to what you do and where you go.”
BENSON ANXIOUS TO GET BACK SKATING
Tyler Benson faced more questions about this lower-body injury that has him listed as week-to-week and his status for the Top Prospects Game in jeopardy.
Benson, 21st amongst North American skaters in the latest NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings released Tuesday, hasn’t played since Dec. 30 due to this latest injury. The prospects game is now only eight days away.
“Not bad. Progressing every day. Working pretty hard to get back and hoping I get back soon,” he said Wednesday.
Benson added that he’s been able to do physical activity but isn’t back on skates just yet. He plans to meet with doctors in the coming days in the hopes that he’ll be cleared to resume skating “hopefully right away.”
The Giants have lost four straight games while trying to remain in the playoff hunt as the last-place team in the WHL’s Western Conference. Sitting out during this stretch has been a “tough” experience for Benson, the team’s 17-year-old captain.
“I want to be out on the ice. Most importantly, I want to be back out there playing with the Giants. That’s the most important thing right now,” he said.
“It’d be fun to be able to play in the prospect game but I hope to be back soon.”
Benson missed the start of the season after surgery to remove a cyst near his tailbone, and his draft-year campaign has so far been reduced to 28 games, while the Giants have played 47.
This latest injury is different from what he recovered from earlier on, said Giants’ owner Ron Toigo, who added that at no point in this season has Benson been 100 per cent healthy.
“He won’t be back, probably, 100 per cent (healthy) until the summer when he can train properly and get back to where he was,” said Toigo.
“It’s hurt him in his draft ratings but all it’s going to do is whoever makes that pick is going to get the pick of the draft.”
GIANTS OWNER CONFIDENT FOR A CROWD OF 10,000 FOR PROSPECTS GAME
As the Top Prospects Game inches closer, and with Benson, the local player and captain for Team Cherry still working to comeback from injury, Toigo maintains the event will be “pretty well-attended.”
Toigo spoke about the rate of ticket sales during Wednesday’s press conference, later saying he’s confident for a crowd of around 10,000 fans – possibly even a little over that – for the event.
“It’s not an All-Star game,” said Toigo.
“It’s almost like going in for a job interview. There’s a lot of people who have moved up significantly in the draft based on what they do in this game.”