Huska credits Rockets for promotion to NHL
Ryan Huska says the Kelowna Rockets are a significant reason why he is now an assistant coach with the NHL's Calgary Flames.
The 42 year-old spoke glowingly about cutting his teeth as an assistant coach with the WHL franchise in 2003 as an assistant to Marc Habscheid.
"Bruce hired me as a head coach when I had very limited experience. That was at a time when most coaches that were being hired were of the bigger names".
Huska spent five seasons as an assistant before becoming head coach in the summer of 2007 when Jeff Truitt left the team to turn pro.
"For him (Hamilton) to put his trust and faith in me over the years in Kelowna was really the opportunity to learn to coach with his team in Kelowna, the world junior opportunity and from that point to get myself to where I am now, it all starts because he gave me the opportunity at a young age."
After leaving the Rockets as the winningest coach in franchise history after 7 seasons as head coach, the likable Huska spent four season guiding the Flames American Hockey League affiliate, which relocated from Adirondack, New York to Stockton, California in 2015.
In a results orientated business, Huska knows the pressure to win at the NHL level will be great.
"You want to bring your best to the table everyday. If you put the time in, the pressure will always be there but you can feel comfortable that what you've done is the best of your ability. The expectation now are a lot higher. The expectation now is results and that has changed from where I have been the last few years where development has been priority. It will be a different situation for sure, but one we are really excited about", Huska added.