WINNIPEG - Glen Gulutzan is the first to admit considering him as a Manitoban would be a stretch.
Gulutzan, a 39-year-old who was born in The Pas but raised in Hudson Bay, Sask., was officially introduced as the head coach of the Dallas Stars on Friday.
“Unfortunately, I’d like to claim I’m a Manitoba boy, especially with the hockey team coming back there but I spent about six days in the hospital there,” said Gulutzan.
Though he grew up one province over, Gulutzan has family in Winnipeg and confesses he might not be where he is today without the influence of Brandon Wheat Kings head coach Kelly McCrimmon.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time (in Brandon). As everyone in that area knows, Kelly is a well-respected guy, he’s old-school and he teaches you the lessons that maybe don’t sink in when you’re 18, 17,” said Gulutzan, who spent the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons with the Wheat Kings before closing out his WHL career with the Saskatoon Blades. “When you get older, you understand and value what he was trying to tell you. I made lots of trips into Winnipeg that I probably won’t comment about, but I have family in that area and it’s some place that feels like home.”
When pressed about the lessons McCrimmon taught him, Gulutzan chuckled and then gave a telling answer.
“How to be a man,” Gulutzan explained. “He didn’t ever let you off the hook and he made you accountable for your actions at the rink. Bringing work ethic every day and he really taught you how to grow up quick, that’s the biggest thing.”
McCrimmon was thrilled to hear of Gulutzan’s promotion.
“Gully is a really intelligent person,” said McCrimmon. “I had a very good relationship with him, he was good to talk to, insightful for a young player. Good team player, respected by teammates. Very skilled and intelligent player.
“I have heard really good things about him as a coach, I know he was held in high regard by Dallas, so his promotion does not come as a surprise. He’s smart, he will have his own style for handling people, and I would see that as being one of his strengths.”
Gulutzan spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, guiding them to the Calder Cup final in 2010.
“It’s his organizational skills, his ability to communicate, the bench demeanour,” said Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “It’s the overall package that is going to translate into very positive things for our group here.”