The University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey head coach Dean Blais stepped down from the program March 14. After eight years with the Mavericks, the former coach went on the hunt to find a proper replacement to fill his big shoes.
And he found him.
Blais found an excellent replacement in former minor league star and American coaching legend Gordon Bombay. Bombay will take over as the new head coach for the hockey team effective immediately.
After searching for the likes of Wayne Gretzky or anyone ever involved in Herb Brooks’ coach-ing staff, UNO needed a reality check because they couldn’t afford most preferred options. Fortunately for Omaha, Bombay’s first year will be on the house courtesy of the Nebraska judicial system.
Bombay has had a long, ironic history with alcohol, and after receiving his second DUI, the proficient lawyer was sent to coach the Mavericks as a means of community service. Initially, Bombay was not a fan of his penance.
“I hate kids,” Bombay said. “They’re barely human.”
After meeting the players and the rest of the staff, Bombay has embraced his role as the new leader and face of the Omaha hockey squad. The new head coach will use his long history of the sport to teach the fundamentals. He has learned from his mistakes in his own hockey career, and will adjust in his coaching style.
“When I played hockey, I was a total hotshot,” Bombay said. “I tried to take control of every game. I wound up quitting.”
In his first act as new head coach, the arrogant yet knowledgeable former hockey player stressed fundamentals and conditioning before any real practice. He made it clear that his players needed to work on the art of passing, and to do this, he replaced the puck with an egg.
“Soft hands. You don’t shoot the puck to your teammate, you sail it to them,” Bombay said.
Bombay is infamously known for his secret weapon on offense known as the “Flying V”. Not only does this pose a threat to score at any time, but it is also a bonding experience the Mavericks can use to grow as a team.
“A team isn’t a bunch of kids out to win,” Bombay said. “A team is something you belong to, something you feel, something you have to earn.”
Indeed, Bombay stresses the importance of brotherhood and bonding for his team, as it will inevitably aid in their play on the ice. After their first practice, the head coach was heard shouting profusely to his new team.
“[Mavericks] fly together,” Bombay said. “[Mavericks] fly together!”
A lot of Bombay’s focus has been training sophomore goalie Alex Blankenburg in between the posts. The two have hit it off and have formed an immediate bond that is evident in Bombay’s nick-name “Goldberg” for his goalie. After the egg passing, Bombay tied Blankenburg to the goal in an attempt to clear all fear of the puck causing pain. Psychological warfare is Bombay’s expertise.
“This is your Bar Mitzvah, Goldberg,” Bombay said. “Today you become a man.”
When concluding his first practice, Bombay gathered the Mavericks and left them with one bit of advice.
“Stand tall, fly straight, USA!”