KNOXVILLE (WATE) – They say timing is everything and perhaps there’s no better example of that then the Ice Bears introducing the sixth head coach in team history, Jeff Carr.
Carr said when he came for his interview, the Nashville Predators were in their Stanley Cup Final run. He said seeing the fan support not only from Nashville, but Knoxville too, was a big selling point in taking the job.
“When I came down during that interview, they were right in the mix, and they had it out on the plaza, and a couple showings, and I’m seeing all these fans chanting and I’m like there has to be a Tennessee football game or something going on over here,” said Carr. “That spoke for it. It’s surprised me that it touched all the way over in Knoxville, when the Ice Bears aren’t playing in late May. It’s nice to see in June, I can’t wait to see it in December.”
Carr will replace Mike Craigen. In May, the Ice Bears announced they would not renew their contract with the former head coach for the 2017-2018 season.
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“We couldn’t be more excited for this day to come,” said Ice Bears General Manager Mike Murray. “We had an overwhelming number of applications from all over the world. We had three applications come in from Europe and a number from Canada and the United States with a wide range of qualifications and experience levels from former NHL players to players in our league who just wanted to come out of skates and stay in hockey.”
In the Western States Hockey League, Carr coached the Ogden Mustangs in Utah, ranked sixth in the country. He has six years of professional coaching, setting a record of 125-70-17.
Murray said what stood out about Carr was that he was a community leader. He said he wanted a leader not only behind the bench, but behind the guys that go out and see kids, get hockey sticks in their hands and instill a love of the sport.
“I want the highest end character people and I want the people that want to come in and be a part of Knoxville and play a very skilled, fast and very, very tough and rugged game,” said Carr. “Those high end people, they need to connect with the community.”
Growing up in the small hockey rich town in Eagle River, Wisconsin, Carr said he grew up in a big winning tradition. He hopes to bring that same tradition to Knoxville.
“It’s the beginning of a new era, a new dynamic with the hiring of our new coach,” said Murray. “After the Preds win, it’s going to be amazing for us. We’re already looking at October coming out of the gate strong.”
Murray says their ticket office has already had 49 new members buy season passes for Ice Bears game after the Predators played in the Stanley Cup Finals.