Farewell 'Friendly Manitoba'

PAUL TURENNE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:39 PM ET

Like a rock star saluting the crowd with a "Nobody rocks like Winnipeg," Randy Carlyle gave a nod to the hometown peeps yesterday as he prepared to move on from the Moose to the NHL.

Unlike the rock star's insert-town-here patronization, Carlyle seemed to really mean it.

"The best thing for me about living in Manitoba -- and I've always said it -- it says it right on the license plates: Friendly Manitoba," said Carlyle, when asked about his best memories in Winnipeg as coach of the Moose, or as a player and assistant coach with the Jets. "My children have grown up here. My family has resided here for 19-plus years," he said. "I've had a strong relationship with (Moose GM) Craig Heisinger, Mark Chipman, the owner here, and their families."

'FURTHER AWAY'

"I'm still going to communicate with those people. I'm just going to be a little further away."

Carlyle, a 49-year-old Sudbury, Ont., native, is expected to leave Winnipeg this weekend for Anaheim, Calif., where he recently accepted the head coaching job with the NHL's Mighty Ducks.

Carlyle was the Moose head coach for a total of 5 1/2 seasons, and has also held assistant coaching jobs with the NHL's Washington Capitals and the Jets.

At one point it was unsure whether Carlyle, who was still under contract with the Vancouver Canucks, the Moose's parent club, would be allowed to speak with Anaheim about the job. But Vancouver allowed him to go through with it despite there being no "escape clause" in his contract.

"I had a verbal commitment from the Vancouver Canucks that they would never stop my progression from a head coaching position," said Carlyle.

Carlyle said he felt his time as Moose coach has prepared him for the big time, but doesn't expect the media pressure in the hockey "hotbed" of Orange County to get to him.

"I think the media coverage in Manitoba will outdo what the media coverage will be in Anaheim on a daily basis," he said. "Some days I'm easy to deal with. Some days I'm not. It's almost like being married.

"I'm going to miss the duck hunting with friends, the fishing and the deer hunting, but right now my future is ahead of me and I'm very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach this hockey club."


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