As teased last week, I recently caught up with Derek Armstrong, the President of the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats.
In our conversation, he shared his transition from working in hockey operations – where he was named the CHL’s Coach of the Year in 2013-14 – into a role as an executive in business operations for the minor league team that will open its third year of play at the Denver Coliseum this fall.
From the story, titled Budding Army:
Working with the players is a perk of the job, and even though he’s roughly 15 years past the median age on the Cutthroats, he’s still able to relate to those he develops.
Coaching younger players reminds him of the same fire he saw in Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, both of whom were rookies when they played with Armstrong; Kopitar was a roommate of Armstrong’s early in his accomplished career.
“They give you a different perspective on life. Now they’ve become NHL veterans and NHL world class superstars,” Armstrong said. “From my perspective looking on the outside now, it’s amazing to see how far they come and how they’ve developed as human beings. Their hockey playing skills and the way they’ve taken over the LA Kings and gone to the championship, it’s truly amazing. I really enjoy the young aspect.”
Though Armstrong’s efforts and the story focus more on Armstrong’s recent transition into Denver’s business operations, he did share several memories on his time in Los Angeles, including when he shared a dressing room with a rookie Drew Doughty.
“You just always knew nothing really bothered him,” Armstrong said of Doughty. “He was just a kid with a free spirit, energy. He was a throwback jersey type of kid. He was an old school kid who just loves to play hockey, and he’s not scared to make mistakes. He competes like a savage on the ice. Practice – you knew he was always going to be great. You didn’t know he was going to be great this quick.”
In case you missed the earlier link, here’s another: Budding Army