10/13/2012 2:06 PM
by: Nicole Sorce (@nicole_sorce)
The Luke Richardson era in the Binghamton Senators locker room has officially begun.
"With his experience as a National Hockey League player and as an assistant coach in Ottawa, I think he's a great choice," confirmed Tim Murray, the Assistant General Manager of the Ottawa Senators, on the new head coach's hiring at the May 23 press conference.
Richardson's NHL career spanned from 1987-2009 with time spent in Toronto, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Tampa Bay before finally winding up with the Ottawa Senators. He has never spent a season in the minors as he was selected seventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
"It's always tough to give up the playing," said Richardson. "Even to this day, you watch the game, and you still feel it." Over 1,417 career games played in the NHL, Richardson produced 35 goals and 166 assists, totaling 201 points.
While the end of his time playing was bittersweet, he was about to begin an exciting new chapter of his life. "I was lucky enough to have a playing career," Richardson recalled, "but I'm even luckier that I had the chance to go right to an assistant coaching job with the Senators for four years."
Richardson's coaching duties with the Ottawa Senators "floated and varied" and included traveling to Binghamton to work with young players and looking after injured pro players. He also served as a bridge between the players and the rest of the Ottawa coaching staff.
"I would talk to them on a players' level because I could still understand what they were feeling," Richardson said. "I would try to get the same message across that the coaches wanted them to hear, and if they were unhappy with their play, I'd use a one-on-one tone instead of teacher/student or coach/player."
Now, as the head coach of the Binghamton Senators, Richardson has a new appreciation for a different perspective of the game of hockey. "I think going into coaching is the next best thing," Richardson stated. "Everybody always said that, and I didn't really believe it at the time because I still wanted to play. But it is."
Richardson's first taste of Binghamton hockey came on the morning of Friday, September 28, as 40 training camp invitees reported for medicals and testing. Camp went on to exceed his expectations.
"The guys have worked real hard. It's a pretty punishing camp," Richardson explained. "There's a lot of energy and excitement which is great, but it's very competitive. Great stuff for the coaches and management to see."
With B-Sens Opening Night just hours away now, Richardson's excitement level becomes harder and harder to contain.
"Hopefully I can keep some composure on the bench," Richardson said, "but hopefully the excitement around the bench filters right to the guys, because that's what matters the most - the players on the ice."
You can find the full version of this story in the 2012-2013 Binghamton Senators game program!