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An Introduction to Behind the Benches

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Where coaching matters

About seven months ago in our Blueshirt Banter Mailbag, we received a question about head coach candidates to replace Alain Vigneault. As we thought of coaching options, we knew we wanted to take a look at assistants around the NHL and coaches at lower levels.

However, when we began researching, we ran into roadblock after roadblock. It was incredibly difficult to hunt down details about coaches and coaching staffs. Sites like EliteProspects.com were helpful, but only offered the most basic information (which was sometimes also inaccurate).

The Idea

At some point during the research phase of that article, we realized that there was a clear need for a public resource that offered information about hockey coaches. Neither of us remembers exactly how or when we agreed to begin this adventure together, but from the word “go” it was a collaborative effort.

We knew we wanted to make a site, a go-to resource like CapFriendly.com or Corsica.Hockey, but instead of having information about players’ salaries or analytics, our site would be a database for hockey coaches. We knew what we wanted to do, so after a lot of brainstorming and research, we built our site with the help of Alexa Goldman.

Behind the Benches

Over half a year after we laid down the groundwork, we launched Behind The Benches. It’s a database of hockey coaches, that includes information on coaching roles for specific teams and how long they’ve been doing it. The current coaching staffs of all 31 NHL teams, as well as their general managers are assistant general mangers are all outlined on Benches.

Also, each teams’ coaching history through the 2010-11 season is chronicled with a season by season look that depicts changes to personnel and their responsibilities over the years. The coaching resumes of all head coaches featured in each teams’ history are also included on team pages.

We’ve started our expansion into women’s hockey as well with league pages for the NWHL and CWHL, showing their current coaching staffs. We plan to have individual team pages up soon that will detail the changes to those coaching staffs over the years.

All in all, we hope Behind the Benches can serve as a resource both for fans and media looking to learn about a facet of the team that isn’t usually focused on except for when they’re hired, on the hot seat, or fired. With Benches, those who are interested can learn about roles and responsibilities of assistant coaches, the tenure of any coach, who helps shape that team’s goaltenders, the video and ‘eye and the sky’ coaches that help a team decide whether or not to challenge a play, and more.

Next Steps

We recently got the results back from a Twitter poll and the people have spoken: the next addition to Behind the Benches will be AHL coaching staffs. After we wrap up the coaching staffs of the AHL, we’ll move on to NCAA D-1 hockey (both men’s and women’s), and from there we have designs on expanding our database to include the WHL, OHL, QMJHL, national tournaments, and possibly venture over to European coaches.

We also recently launched our Patreon which will help us grow the site, expand our coverage, and have the resources we need to keep Behind the Benches objective and accurate.

We hope that you check out the site and like what you see. If you have any feedback for us, let us know by DMing us on Twitter (@BenchBosses) or by sending over an email.