Former head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks School Club, Ted Dent has coached no less than 22 future Stanley Cup winners. And probably soon the 23rd in Philippe Danault.
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The interview has barely begun and, at the end of the call, we can already feel the immense respect Dent has for his former player. Something worries him and he asks his interlocutor for help.
“When the Canadian reached the final, I wanted to send him a message. And then, damn it! I realized I changed my cell phone two years ago and I no longer have his number!” to the hockey man on TVASports tells the .ca, who is eager to be able to congratulate the player that fills him with pride.
When Danault completed his junior internship and joined the Rockford IceHogs in the American League (AHL), Dent quickly realized what kind of person he was dealing with.
“Honestly, one of the best young people I’ve had the chance to meet in Rockford,” he says. And I was 11 there. I saw some players. He loved hockey, always had a smile on his face. He was intense, but he enjoyed the process and still had fun. “
In fact, the coach felt that Danault was such a good example, both as a player and as a person, that he looked forward to introducing her to his young daughters.
“There are only two players I invited over for dinner and to meet my family in Rockford: Danault and Dennis Rasmussen. My 10 and 13 year old daughters loved Phil. I wanted him to meet both players. Had a chance to meet in person. He played ping-pong against him in the basement and we took pictures,” Dent recalls.
different from others
When he arrived in the AHL, Danault was not a player like the others. By this, Dent does not imply that he had a magical hand or a shot that thrilled the opposing goalkeepers.
“He was playing without the puck, he wasn’t just trying to score goals and be an offensive player. The faceoff, shorthand and defensive sides of hockey are all very important to the center player and he was invested in these missions. It’s difficult to instill that mindset in young players in the junior or AHL.”
“He was already ahead of the others. He was already a two-way street player. He was so strong on the puck. Barring a few quirks around here and there, we didn’t need to teach him to play without a record. AHL Much of the teaching in the U.S. revolves around puck-less play and Phil had already explored this aspect of the game. […] It’s rare that young men care so much about these details, who care so much about neutralizing the best players on the other team.”
Similarities to Toes
Dent got his first taste of what Danault had to offer during Quebecois’ first development camp in the summer of 2011.
The Blackhawks liked what he saw so much that they compared him to the captain of the club.
“The recruiters and the team management are there. We’re all here, practically. And many people are starting to see the parallels between Danault and Jonathan Toes in defending the puck and their effectiveness in the corners of the ice. At a young age, his legs were so powerful that you could not even move him.”
the dream player
Throughout his career, Danault never had too much trouble earning the respect of his coaches. He will always have them by his side. Dent recounts two special moments that, according to him, are the epitome of Danault for a trainer.
In 2015, the IceHogs were trying to end a six-year food shortage without winning a series. They faced the Texas Stars in the first round in 5 of 3 series. In the third game, Danault’s determination alone turned the tables.
“Phil was taking a face-off in the offensive zone and managed to pass through the second center, escape the defenseman’s cover and push the puck into goal. It was the tying goal in the third period and we went into overtime to win the series. Won the game
“It was a great moment for him. I still have a picture of me, Danault and my daughter outside the locker room after this meeting.”
Then, in another landmark episode, an incident with the Charlotte Checkers caused Danault to be sent to the hospital.
“He was hit in the face or in one eye with a stick. He needed treatment, but he didn’t want to miss a game. We played two matches against Checkers in the same number of nights. He messaged me to let me know that he can play the next day as well. It says a lot about his determination.”
Without being able to zigzag into an offensive field like Artemi Panarin or shoot like Patrick Line, Danault has a quality truly worthy of the elite: tenacity.
“He’s the player every coach dreams of. He takes it very seriously.”
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