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Ducks new coach a busy one thus far - Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 28 Jun 2011
By: Nick Clark

It's a subtle addition to the inaugural sweater the Dells Ducks will wear in the coming months, but it certainly caught the attention of the man put in place to coach the first ever season of junior hockey for the Minnesota Junior Hockey League's newest member.
Shaun Falzone spent four years as a military police officer, honing the type of persona he'll take with him behind the Ducks bench this coming winter.
He's the first ever coach for the franchise - an honor he said will really hit home when the pucks hit the ice for practice in September.
Leading up to then, however, it's been about the details - even the minor ones. So, when the designs came back hinting at what the team's first game sweaters will look like, the touch of camouflage sewed onto the inseam of the arms stuck for the 31-year old with a United States Army background.
"Yeah, that was a nice touch," said Falzone. "It's safe to say I liked the way that looked."
There has been plenty more to like with the way Falzone has handled what has been a whirlwind of a summer.
The Duck's were granted an MnJHL membership in April. They had to wait until just a few weeks ago to receive the same approval from USA Hockey.
 In the interim, Falzone and the rest of the Ducks brass was trying to piece together a plan of action for a team they hope turns into an immediate college hockey breeding grounds.
For the coach, that meant getting out and scouting, scouring endless player reports, and meeting with players and parents to answer any and every question posed about what life in the Dells will be like for the junior hockey player.
"It's been crazy, mainly because it's had to come together so fast," Falzone said. "But when you look at what we've accomplished, and how far we've come, we have to be pleased."
That started with singing the first official player. The honor went to Bartlett, Ill. native Rickey Seidel, who is coming off a 62-point season with the AA midget team out of Chicago.
The offensive production Seidel brings will be a bonus, but that wasn't the reason the Ducks decided to give him their initial roster spot.
"He's the type of player we'd like to model our team after," Falzone said. "He's what we see as an overall player. He plays hard on both ends of the ice, and he'll do it all. He's a good example for all the other kids we bring in to look at."
Since signing Seidel, the Ducks have added nine more to the fold. There's some offensive talent sprinkled in the mix, and more goaltending than the team has had room for thus far. The focus now for Falzone will be on adding some size to the back end.
 "We still need to find some big, strong defensemen," Falzone said. "That is the next area we need to hit on."
After that, the rest should be gravy. The team will take a trip to Florida for a showcase early in September, then the Ducks will begin their first season in the MnJHL with a trio of road games Sept. 16-19. They'll then return home the following weekend to host the Maple Grove Energy for a pair of games Sept. 23 and 24.
For Falzone, who has a player spent time playing at the high school level in suburban Chicago, and then for a Canadian junior hockey academy in Banff, Alberta before getting into coaching, it will mark his first game behind the bench at the junior hockey level.
Thus far, he has coached at all sorts of youth and high school-aged levels. This will be different, he admitted, but primarily because of the excitement for both him personally, and for what will be a new beginning for the hockey community in the Dells area.
"It's big," he said. "There has been a lot of build-up, which is good. It's easy to get excited."
Almost as simple as it was for the Ducks to peg him as their first coach.
"He was an easy choice for us," said Ducks president John Schwarz. "He has proven each year he has been a coach through his teachings and charisma that players get developed the right way. His charisma brings out the best in each player and players want to play each year for him. He puts the player first."  


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