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Craig Berube: A New Era of Accountability and Communication
Credit: Photo: R.J.Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs made an important move when they announced Craig Berube to be their new coach. The enthusiasm of Berube to take on his new position was evident from the start, even though he spent his first days more on the telephone than on ice. Communication was crucial. It involved discussions with team leadership, Core Four members, current assistant coaches, as well as potential ones.

Brad Treliving, the General Manager of first press conference presented a detailed look into the selection process which led to Berube being hired. Berube’s stoic attitude, which was reminiscent of the days when he played, reinforced his reputation as a man who is all business. Berube stressed that “to hold players accountable, and to make players understand accountability, it is necessary to create a partnership.” He noted that this partnership begins in the summer, when he gets to know and understand the players.

New Leafs coach introduced
TORONTO.Brendan Shanahan, President,(L) Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving (c) and Craig Berube, new Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Craig Berube being introduced. (R.J.Johnston/Toronto Star)
Berube emphasized the importance of communicating as an important cornerstone in his coaching philosophy. My players are aware of their position. “I’ll let them know when they are playing well or not well and what they could improve upon,” said Treliving. Treliving is a fan of Berube’s direct style, which was a major reason for his selection. Treliving acknowledged the contribution of Sheldon Keefe but said that what will ultimately determine success is how well the Leafs do in the playoffs.

Treliving also stressed the need to push players into uncomfortable positions and emphasized the importance of commanding the respect of others, which is a quality that Berube’s varied and extensive career naturally supports. Treliving said, “Presence for me is important. You either have it or don’t.” Berube’s background as a former NHL coach and player with teams like Philadelphia, St. Louis and St. Louis where he was awarded a Stanley Cup further solidified Berube’s candidacy.

Berube inherits an impressive roster, ranging from talented young players like Easton Cowan or Fraser Minten up to veteran veterans such as Ryan Reaves (37 years old). He outlined a vision of a team which takes pride in its collective work and strong work ethic. We don’t ever want to outwork anyone. The team is everything. Everyone is important. Everybody has to play a role. Berube also stressed a play style based on speed, power with the puck and a robust structure in all three zones. This reflects the ever-evolving nature of hockey.

The 58-year old Berube is faced with the constant demands of being the Leafs coach. These include daily interactions with media, social media duties, and partnerships with broadcasting giants. Berube is ready for these challenges. Berube acknowledged that the challenges are part of his job, based on both his experiences in the high-pressure environment of Philadelphia, and the quieter atmosphere of Missouri where he won the Blues their first Stanley Cup.

Berube’s appointment represents an important moment in the Maple Leafs’ history, as it combines a rich past with a vision for the future. The appointment is infused with sentiment owing to Berube’s Canadian heritage and love of the sport. Berube expressed his enthusiasm and dedication to leading one of the most legendary franchises in hockey into its new chapter.

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