"You want to have fun": Conroy looking to change Flames' culture

May 24 2023, 7:03 pm

Craig Conroy wants Calgary Flames players to be excited to be at the rink each and every day.

Speaking on Flames TV Podcast with Brendan Parker and Ryan Dittrick, Conroy emphatically stated how important it is for players to enjoy what they are doing.

“Maybe there’s things we can do to kind of bond and become closer,” Conroy said. “It’s all about that. When you come to the rink, you want to have fun. It’s a game… That’s what hockey’s all about, it’s about having fun. If you’re doing that, the rest will come I think.”

This has to be a relief for Flames players to hear, as there were rumoured rifts between plenty of them and head coach Darryl Sutter this past season. From the sounds of it, it sucked the life out of the room, and Conroy wants to do his best to change that.

Communication between Sutter and the players wasn’t believed to be very good, either. Conroy explained that moving forward, he wants each and every player to know exactly where they stand, whether it be a good or bad situation.

“I don’t like grey areas,” Conroy explained. “I like black and white. This is why you’re not playing, this is why you’re playing. If you do this, you play. If you don’t do this, you sit on the bench.”

Whether he meant for it to come off that way or not, it seemed as though Conroy was taking a few subtle shots at Sutter, including when he explained what he wants to see in a head coach.

“I like a little life on the bench, too,” Conroy said. “I like to see the coach get a little bit fired up at times. I watch different coaches around the league all the time. I think some are very stoic, but when there’s a time, they’re not afraid to show that passion. Because, when they show that passion, it goes through the team. They can’t do it every game or every day, but every now and then you’re kind of like ‘Woah, what’s going on here?’ It wakes everybody up on the bench.”

While it remains to be seen how Conroy will fare in his new gig, it is clear that he is bringing a new school mentality which should resonate much better with the Flames players. With how talented their roster remains, they could very well be able to get back into the playoffs next season thanks to working in an entirely different environment.

Colton PankiwColton Pankiw

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