New York Bobcats broadcaster, Carmine Vetrano had a chance to talk with Bobcats general manger and assistant coach, Craig Doremus about the upcoming season and more!
Doremus comes to the Bobcats after spending five-years with the Metro Moose Junior Hockey team. A native of Maspeth, NY, Doremus has over 24-years of hockey experience and is a level-5 USA Hockey certified coach.
In Craig's five seasons with the Moose, the team qualified for USA Hockey Nationals three times and captured two CHA league championships.
Carmine Vetrano: Craig, tell how us about the hiring process between you and the Bobcats, and what ultimately sold you on taking this general manager and assistant coach job with New York?
Craig Doremus: “I was approached at the conclusion of last season. I was prepared to move on from hockey following five great seasons as the Head Coach of the Metro Moose. Ron Friedman and Peter and Chris Ferraro approached me about taking a full-time hockey position with the Long Island Gulls and New York Bobcats. I was humbled to say the least to work with the ownership group, especially moving into our brand new state-of-the-art facility. I am excited to be part of an organization that wants to change the landscape of hockey especially on the East Coast. I think the Long Island Gulls and New York Bobcats have a bright future and I am extremely eager to get to work.”
CV: Being a general manger, there is a lot more that goes into it then people think. Take us through the day-to-day operations of a GM and how have your prepared yourself for this season?
CD: “The preparation and work has been non-stop, countless hours are put into not only the on ice product but also the off-ice product. Obviously we started with adding a new Head Coach and building a support staff. We then spent countless hours on the road identifying and recruiting players for our team. One of the biggest challenges in the off-season has been establishing our billet program. We will have a higher than normal number of billets this season so that was a focus of the entire staff. Other than that I have worked with our video coach establishing pre scout videos of next year’s opponents. I have also started the communication process with a number of college coaches about the players we have wearing a New York Bobcat jersey for this upcoming year. I think we, as a staff, are well prepared to execute our plans and philosophies with our team.”
CV: In some of the more exciting news, the Bobcats ownership group became the new owners of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. How big is that in terms of Junior hockey on the East Coast and what can we expect in the future?
CD: “We are ecstatic about Ron, Peter and Chris getting involved at the USHL level. The New York Bobcats have been and will continue to be huge fans of the USHL. We believe in promoting and moving players to the highest of levels and the USHL is the best junior hockey league in the country. I think over the past few years’ more and more players from our area are playing in the USHL and I believe this will only continue the trend. We hope to continue to provide a platform for all of our players to get the necessary training, development and exposure to all USHL clubs including the Muskegon Lumberjacks.”
CV: You and the rest of the staff made a move right away by naming former 18-year pro, Kevin Kerr the new Bobcats head coach. What was it about Kevin that made him the right guy for the job?
CD: “I think Kevin’s resume speaks for itself. In addition to his prolific playing career, Kevin’s coaching stops have been nothing but successful. Kevin’s teams play the right way, train the right way and present themselves the right way. Kevin has experience of building teams based on all the qualities that college coaches find appealing, which are skill, speed, strength, tenacity and toughness. The New York Bobcats strive to become to the best team in the Eastern Hockey League and we know we have the right guy to lead us there.”
CV: The EHL has just released its entire regular season schedule, which also includes some showcases as well. It looks like the Bobcats are on the road early but have a nice home schedule later on in the year. What is your take on the schedule?
CD: “I want to start by saying how excited the Bobcats are to be a part of the Eastern Hockey League. I think the one thing that jumps out when you look over the schedule is how tough our league is going to be. Each weekend is a true challenge. I think when you talk about development with players, it is important they are challenged on a day in and day out basis and with our schedule they will definitely get that. I also think based on the locations of our games and league showcases, our players will be getting maximum exposure to all the colleges.”
CV: The Bobcats were knocked out early from last year’s playoffs in the first round, however was an extremely competitive team. Can we expect the same type of makeup for this year’s club, or is there a different approach?
CD: “This year’s team will be a different team. We have decided to go in a much younger direction with our roster. We want to cater our product to the USHL and NCAA Division 1 schools. In today’s game, that involves having younger players. We expect to contend for a league title, but most importantly we want to develop each one of our student-athletes.”
CV: New York’s alumni list keeps growing with players making USHL teams, as well as continuing their careers in college. The Bobcats even had a current player skate at a NHL Development Camp. How rewarding is it to know that the Bobcats had a hand in helping player move on to the higher ranks?
CD: “With me being new to the job, I think it speaks volumes about all the coaches, general managers and players who have helped make the New York Bobcats what they are today. I will tell you based on my past experiences it is extremely gratifying when you see a former player get an opportunity at the collegiate or the professional level. All of the Bobcats’ staff will work hard for each and every one of our players who wear our jersey. We want all of our players to have the opportunity to continue their career at the collegiate level.”
CV: Before we know it, the 2013-14 season will be here and the Bobcats will be back on the ice. What are some of the things you are looking forward to this year?
CD: “I can’t wait to get on the ice and get the season started. We have spent many hours recruiting our players and now I am just eager to get to work and start the coaching part. I am so excited about our roster. I think we have a great mix of players from all over the country. It now gets to the fun part, which is the coaching, and competing. I have been waiting a long time to get to work with all of the players and the new coaches.”