By: Kevin Ye Su
The Windsor Lancers have added former NHL player Todd Warriner to their men’s hockey coaching staff, creating an exciting and promising future for the Lancer Hockey program.
Warriner is a retired hockey player currently holding the position of assistant coach for the Windsor Lancers men’s hockey team.
Born in Blenheim, Ontario, Warriner was drafted to the NHL in 1992 fourth overall by the Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche). Enjoying a 15-year professional career, he played for multiple teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and the Nashville Predators, as well as in several teams in Europe. Warriner scored the first goal in the history of the Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) during his time at the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Todd brings a ton of experience to the team. His extensive NHL and European background is very appealing to the guys and makes him mesh perfectly with the current team culture,” said Kevin Hamlin, head coach for the men’s hockey team. “Not only that, he also has excellent interpersonal skills. This allows him to convey his messages in an effective and appropriate manner.”
Warriner’s ability to communicate is very important in his role of assistant coach.
“I think the biggest help I’ve contributed is communicating Hamlin’s message to the players,” Warriner said. “He has a lot on his plate and the players are learning to trust me and my judgement.”
Because of his other work commitments (e.g. hockey analyst for Sportsnet and involvement with the Windsor Spitfires), Warriner will miss some of the season, but Hamlin noted this is normal for part-time assistant coaches. Despite his busy schedule, Warriner is at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex daily for practice.
Ben Assad, captain of the men’s hockey team, noted Warriner’s abilities and efforts from the start.
“Warriner puts a lot of time in to get to know and help the players individually,” Assad said. “He is always talking to the guys, helping us out with anything we need. He also likes telling us some good stories from his NHL days which are always fun to hear.”
Warriner wanted to expand his experience by coaching at the university level. When he heard Hamlin was looking for help, Warriner gave his old assistant coach (Hamlin) at the Windsor Spitfires a call.
When onboard, Warriner acknowledged the progress the University has gone through within its athletic programs.
“My first impression was that the program had advanced a lot in terms of the quality of courses offered to a student-athlete and the care players are given,” Warriner said.
Warriner is primarily responsible for running the defence during games and organizing the special teams (specifically the power plays).
“He has impacted the team most when it comes to our play in the third period,” Assad said. “The past couple of years we had a tough time holding leads because the pressure got the best of us. Todd has done a great job in teaching us how to stay calm and collected to finish out games.”
Hamlin has a trusting relationship with Warriner.
“The head coach can’t do everything, so you have to delegate to someone you can trust,” Hamlin said. “It is great to be able to bounce ideas with someone as knowledgeable as Warriner.”
Warriner lives in his hometown Blenheim, just 45 minutes east from Windsor. He has continued his interaction with the community after his retirement by opening a hockey training facility and running clinics and private group sessions.
“The addition of Warriner to the team is great for the community of Windsor. He is from the area, and it’s always nice to see successful players from the area help out with current teams,” Assad said. “He is a role model to many aspiring players in the community.”
Warriner has also offered his assistance in the recruitment of players. But, Hamlin does not believe a player should select Windsor solely because of an assistant coach due to the transient nature of the position.
When asked about future plans with Warriner, Hamlin noted the difficulties of thinking long-term because every assistant coach is hoping to become a head coach. He is hopeful, though, that with Warriner’s family and travel history he stays in Windsor for a few more years.
“I don’t have a long-term plan with the program. I’m currently not enrolled in anything but would be happy to teach or help in any capacity at the university” Warriner said. “If Kevin likes what I bring to the team I’d be happy to stay on.”
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