More than five months removed from his last game coaching NHL hockey, former Islanders coach Scott Gordon can’t wait to get back behind the bench.
Gordon, dismissed as head coach of the Islanders back in November, will lead Team USA at the IIHF’s World Hockey Championships for the second straight year.
The 47-year-old Boston, Mass. native has no problem admitting he very much wants to get back into coaching—“Oh yeah, absolutely” he said—but this opportunity is about far more than exposure.
“If I benefit from it that’s great, but that’s not why I’m doing it,” Gordon said when reached by telephone Monday. “I love representing the United States.”
This year’s tournament-- held in Slovakia beginning April 29—marks the fifth time Gordon has represented USA Hockey. In addition to his appearance last year, Gordon was an assistant coach in 2009 as well as an assistant for Team USA’s silver medal-winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also played as a goaltender for the 1992 Men’s hockey team.
“In the U.S, the World Championships don’t mean that much to the hockey fan, but over there it’s like the Stanley Cup,” Gordon explained. “Fans are incredibly passionate. You see players block a shot and finish a check unlike how you would during an 82-game season. They treat it as much more than an end-of-the-year tournament.”
Since being replaced by Jack Capuano on November 15, Gordon has remained with the Islanders organization in an advisory role; he has been primarily used to scout teams while working out of Atlanta, where his family is based. And while there have been some preliminary discussions about the potential of sticking on—his three-year contract expires at the end of June-- his first priority is to make a return to coaching.
“That goes without saying,” he said.
The frenetic pace of head coaching responsibilities may be an abrupt transition from pitching daily batting practice to his two school-aged sons in suburban Georgia, but he’s ready for the challenge again.
Besides, his throwing arm is getting a little sore.
“I might have been a miserable guy this summer had I not gotten this opportunity,” Gordon joked. “I’m just happy to be a part of it every day and be involved.”