Q&A With Generals GM: I.H.C. Affiliation
Following the recent announcement that the Eugene Generals will be entering an NCDC affiliation partnership with Islanders Hockey Club for the 2017-18 season, Generals FM Flint Doungchak sat down for a Q&A to provide an in-depth look at how the partnership came to be and the benefits that it will offer both franchises.
Q: How exactly did this affiliation between the two organizations come to be?
Doungchak: Being in the USPHL, we wanted to find a partner to give our kids an opportunity to move up the league's ladder of development. Islanders Hockey Club has always been known as a quality program, and I happened to have coached with I.H.C. Head Coach Sean Tremblay at USA Hockey National Player Development Camps. I put in a call to him, we talked a bit, and we found that it would be good fit for both organizations.
Q: What role did you prior experience working with Sean Tremblay at USA Hockey National Camps play in this partnership ultimately being created?
Doungchak: I don’t want to speak for Sean, but for me, it was really important to find an organization that does things right. That always starts with good people, and Sean is really good people. For us, we wanted to make sure that we were affiliating with people that we knew had people within the organization that do things right. You get to know somebody pretty well when you spend a week with them coaching some of the country's best players, and I was really comfortable with Sean. I’m glad that we found a way to work together.
Q: What specifically about I.H.C. sets them apart from most junior hockey organizations and makes them such an appealing affiliate partner?
Doungchak: I think that they are just really honest with kids, that's number one. Where kids should be playing, what's best for them, what’s best for player development are their main priorities. They’ve got an excellent player development model, and of course the thing that everybody pays attention to - but I think is more of a result of doing things right - is moving a lot of kids on to college and to high levels of play, and we want to continue to do that.
Islanders Hockey Club claims the Premier Division title at the USPHL Spring Showcase this past weekend in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Q: How will this partnership benefit both the Islanders Hockey Club and the Eugene Generals?
Doungchak: The immediate benefit for the Islanders Hockey Club will be a lot more exposure to kids from the west coast. The Pacific is still somewhat virgin territory for most of the USPHL, but with the Generals having been here for twelve years it seemed like a good spot for I.H.C. to be able to expand their reach, help kids understand what the NCDC is and hopefully open up a pipeline from west of the Mississippi. We know firsthand from our work with USA Hockey's Pacific District and the Rocky Mountain District that some really, really good players are coming out of those areas; it's not just the kids from Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. From our perspective, this partnership provides our players with the opportunity for upward movement to the Premier Division and to the NCDC. Our players are ultimately aiming get exposed to DI and DIII colleges, a vast majority of which are located within the USPHL’s primary footprint, so we want to facilitate that upward movement and enhance those collegiate opportunities as much as we possibly can. Together with Islanders Hockey Club, we can share with each other what we’ve learned and hopefully improve both franchises.