Utah Grizzlies owner David Elmore was thrilled on Monday when he found out that Butch Goring was selected as the IHL coach of the year for the second season in a row.
However, Elmore was even more excited about a couple of other developments concerning the IHL's best coach and his future with the back-to-back Turner Cup champions.Goring, who became the first two-time winner of the award, guided the Grizz through a turbulent regular season and onto their second straight IHL crown to cap the team's inaugural campaign in Utah.
"Butch is the guy, obviously, who deserves it," said Elmore from the IHL Board of Governors annual meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "I'm just thrilled that he won. It's for everyone - for Butch, the team and the fans."
Winning the Commissioners' Trophy just might continue as an annual tradition for Goring into the 21st century. Elmore announced that Goring has recently agreed to a five-year contract with the Grizzlies. It's important to note that the contract, which hasn't been officially signed yet, includes a "courtesy and un-written" clause that would allow Goring to pursue a coaching position in the NHL.
Though Goring is definitely a top prospect as a future NHL coach, Elmore said he doesn't think it will happen too soon - especially considering that Goring and his wife Cathy are looking to buy a house in Utah. That's good news for some sales-hungry real estate agent, but even more so for the Grizzlies organization and fans since Goring has posted an IHL record of 189-78-26 (.701) in three regular seasons and playoffs.
"The more ways they can get settled in the neighborhood, the better we'll feel," said Elmore.
Goring was unavailable for comment - he and Cathy are celebrating their 25th anniversary with their two daughters in Hawaii - but the day after the Grizz won the Turner Cup title he said that he's pleased with his situation in Utah. He likes being part of an organization that is committed to winning, and he enjoys having roles as both coach and general manager.
"Certainly my plans are to be back here," said Goring. "Why would I leave a team that loves to win?"
The possibility of winning a third straight championship and turning the Grizzlies into an IHL "dynasty" is particularly enticing to Goring.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment - there's not that many teams who have won two in a row. Winning three is a big goal for me."
As a player, Goring won four NHL championships with the New York Islanders during their dynasty years from 1980-83. He was named the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP in 1981.
Goring guided the Grizzlies to a championship in their first season of existence in 1994-95 while in Denver. After compiling the best regular season record in Denver at 57-18-6, the Grizz were expected to win the title.
This past year, however, not many thought Utah had a chance to repeat. The Grizzlies finished the season with a 49-29-4 record but they suffered an eight-game losing streak toward the end of the year. To make matters more difficult, Goring had to continually juggle with his ever-changing lineup. An astounding 49 different players dressed in a Grizz uniform.
"I think - and I'm sure he'll tell you - that this year is sweeter for him because of all the challenges," added Elmore.