Nolan rekindles the passion

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Ted Nolan will attempt to win his second Memorial Cup in the next 10 days but in his mind he already has gained a victory.

Nolan went behind the bench of the Moncton Wildcats on a one-year deal and guided the club to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title. This after being out of coaching since winning the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year with the Buffalo Sabres in 1997.

"I wanted to come back and see if I still had the passion, and I found out that I do," Nolan said yesterday from Moncton, which will play host to the 2006 Memorial Cup. "This was not to be a springboard to get back to the NHL. Going through what I did with Buffalo, I thought another job would come along right away. But I can't predict the future."

The Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes, with possible No. 1 NHL pick Jordan Staal in tow, open the 2006 tournament tomorrow against co-owner/coach Patrick Roy and the QMJHL finalist Quebec Remparts.

Nolan was named the NHL's top coach nine years ago but was out of a job after he left the offer of a one-year extension from the Sabres on the table. Earlier, Sabres general manager John Muckler, with whom Nolan did not have a good relationship, had been fired.

Nolan would like to return to the NHL but he has stopped looking in the mirror and wondering why he was not hired in the eight years before he went to Moncton.

"(Getting back to the NHL) was not the main goal (in going to Moncton)," said Nolan, who inquired about the New Jersey Devils job when it became vacant during the season. "I would like to coach (in the NHL) again, but if it doesn't materialize, I'm not going to shake my head and ask why. I've already gone through the whys. The only thing I have control over is my attitude, and I am enjoying life right now. I am enjoying Moncton."

No wonder. The Wildcats won their first Quebec championship after finishing the regular season atop the Canadian Hockey League rankings.

"One thing we didn't want to do was take things for granted (as the Cup host)," said Nolan, who coached the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a Cup triumph in 1993.

"It's great to go in as champions. But I don't know about pressure. I look at it more as intense fun."


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