The Syracuse Crunch has confirmed the rumors that started yesterday thanks to an article out of Grand Forks: the Tampa Bay Lightning has hired current volunteer goalie coach for the University of North Dakota and former Syracuse Crunch player Karl Goehring to be a goalie and video coach for the Crunch. Goehring has been working with UND for the past seven years, and most recently earned a lot of attention because of his work with Zane McIntyre when he went through the program.
Goehring started his professional career with Syracuse in 2001. He was signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets after a stellar college career that included backstopping UND to an NCAA championship in 2000. He went on to play in 151 games for Syracuse between 2001 and 2005, quickly becoming a fan favorite among the Crunch faithful. Goehring left North America for Helsinki at the start of the 2005-06 season, but soon came back to the AHL. He played in San Antonio and Milwaukee before returning to Syracuse in 2007.
Although Goehring wasn’t expected to be a permanent solution in 07-08, he ended up staying with the team through the playoffs, with the Crunch making it to the second round. His regular season record was 15-8-2, and he was named the AHL's goaltender of the month in March 2008. He further cemented himself in the Crunch’s record books and in the fans’ hearts during this time. Goehring’s return to the Crunch, and the energy it ignited in his former team, mirrored what vet goalie Mike McKenna brought to Syracuse this past season.
Goehring remains Syracuse’s all-time leader in career goaltending wins with 78. He also still holds the franchise record for games played (178). During that 2007-08 campaign, he also set the lowest GAA in one season (2.12) and the highest save percentage in one season (.930).
Goehring played one more year of professional hockey after 07-08 before deciding to re-join Syracuse yet again in 2009, this time as a goalie coach. During the 2009-10 season, Goehring worked with head coach Ross Yates and assistant coach Trent Cull (who has also worked with the Crunch under the Lightning for the past four seasons). That trio coached Syracuse in the AHL’s first outdoor game, hosted by the Crunch in 2010. On the ice, Goehring worked with goalies Dan LaCosta - who spoke to Raw Charge about his experience under Goehring just this past year - and Kevin Lalande.
Goehring used his experience that season to get a position with UND, although Syracuse was never far from his heart. Goehring was one of the first players fans clamored to see again during the team’s 20th anniversary celebration, and he remains one of the only non-player guests to be invited onto Dan D’Uva’s post-game radio show.
In an interview from the past year with Sports Talk Florida, Goehring couldn’t speak highly enough about all of his experiences with the Crunch organization:
I was very fortunate to be there for a good part of my career. As a professional, I had an opportunity to play there for a lot of years and the opportunity to start my coaching career. It really became a second home for me. [I] made a lot of great friends there and a lot of great memories. Guys bounce around quite a bit (in the AHL). I guess I was lucky enough to play a number of seasons with a good franchise. You know, again, I just enjoyed my time there and am thankful for my opportunities.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, multiple sources had confirmed that Goehring had been hired as a coach for the Crunch again, a move necessitated by coach David Alexander taking a position with the St. Louis Blues. UND coach Brad Berry had this to say to the Herald about Goehring in January:
He is tremendous. His work ethic is tremendous. His attention to detail is impeccable. His communication skills are outstanding.
The Herald has also spoken to McIntyre about Goehring. Going by what the Boston Bruins prospect had to say, the man slated to be the Crunch’s new coach certainly sounds perfect as the guy to help guide Lightning prospect Connor Ingram:
His mentality certainly helped me out. I was maybe young and naive coming to school. I wanted results now. I wanted to see the fruits of my labor right away. He brings that different perspective and outlook to hockey and life. It's more of a big-picture approach. He definitely helped me in that regard.
According to the official release from the team, Crunch GM Julian BriseBois is pleased to have Goehring among Syracuse’s coaching staff this fall:
We feel that with his years of playing professional hockey, especially his extensive experience at the American Hockey League level, Karl will be a valuable resource to our goalies in Syracuse and to our entire organization. Besides his playing career, his experience coaching goaltenders at North Dakota, one of the top NCAA programs, has prepared him to thrive as a coach at the professional level. We look forward to working with Karl and having him contribute daily to the Crunch's success.
Goehring himself had this to say in appreciation for the chance to come back to Syracuse:
I am honored to be joining such a great organization and look forward to contributing as much as I can. I was fortunate to call Syracuse home for most of my playing career and I am very excited to be returning to the community.
Much like Alexander, Goehring will also be the video coach for the Crunch. When it comes to coaching, having a goalie specialist can be vital to professional teams, especially ones with young prospects on them like Ingram:
I’ve just always had a passion for hockey, especially goaltending in particular. It’s kind of a different language I like to say. Although most head coaches are great and care, it’s nice to have someone who has played the position [to be there for the players.] I like to be out there and that’s why I do it....For me, when I work with them, it’s about helping them find their best game. If there is technical changes, we want to make sure that they are on board with that. It’s really about helping them realize what makes them successful on the ice.