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Oregon Hockey: Giant Beneath the Ice - an interview with Coach Rylee Orr

D1 Orr Bust!

Photo Credit: Sam Rosenberg

Welcome to Frozen Friday!

Addicted to Quack is your home for Oregon Duck Hockey coverage.

Last week we interviewed General Manager Sam Rosenberg and asked how he planned to take the Mighty Ducks to the next level.

However, if the Ducks hope to ever make it to DI status, it will take the support of fans, the university, and perhaps most importantly, a lot of wins. Bucking the trend of one-and-done coaching, new head coach Rylee Orr plans to stick around and make this team a Duck dynasty.

Photo Credit: Emily Gonzalez

From the Oregon Hockey site

“Rylee Orr will be joining the Oregon Ducks Hockey Club after a successful career as a player. Rylee grew up in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, where he played hockey from ages four to sixteen. After finishing his minor hockey, he went on to have a notable junior career in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Rylee also played for the Utah State University Aggies in Logan, Utah, where he accumulated 170 points in 109 games.

He played a vital role as the Aggies attended three national championship tournaments. ...Following his time at Utah State, he played for the EHC Neuwied in the Regionalliga West in Germany where he led the team in goal scoring for the 2016/2017 season.”

So, without further ado...

ATQ speaks with Duck Hockey’s

Head Coach Rylee Orr

ATQ: You’ve had your share of success in the pros, what does a team need to have in order to achieve success on the ice?

Coach Orr: In order for team to achieve success it is crucial to form a brotherhood in the locker room. When guys are playing for eachother and buying into what the coaches are preaching it is a recipe for success. We are fortunate to have a group of guys who are teachable and open to constructive feedback and they consistently apply that out on the ice.

ATQ: Name a few players that Duck fans should expect to have a big season this year.

Coach Orr: Connor Rendell, Austin Charnholm, and Warren Berg to name a few. We have a number of other players who are very exciting to watch and will light up the scoresheet as well. As coaches, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys. They come to practice ready to work and with positive attitudes. They are quick to apply our advice out on the ice, and we have already seen so much improvement.

Photo Credit: Allan Johnstone

(This could be a very big year for Warren Berg, pictured above.)

ATQ: As a coach, is it advantageous (or necessary) to stoke the flames of the Washington-Oregon rivalry?

Coach Orr: I don’t put much into that. Obviously, it is a great rivalry and I love nothing more than beating those guys. But at the end of the day, we have our goals set in place and we just want to worry about ourselves and concentrate on getting better each and every day.

ATQ: How would you describe your ideal style of play?

Coach Orr: With the solid recruitment class we have coming in this year I think the fans can expect a very exciting season. We are going to be a highly skilled team. We have a really mobile defence, so I think this year we will be trying to push the pace of the game. We want to try and make other teams keep up with us for sixty minutes.

ATQ: If the Ducks were to achieve D1 status for the upcoming season, would they be ready for the increased competition?

Coach Orr: I don’t think we are quite at the D1 level yet, but I think the University of Oregon is the perfect place for a D1 hockey program and it is only a matter of time. The University of Oregon is known worldwide for its athletics. There is a lot of talent on the west coast. I believe we would be able to recruit with some of the best programs in the nation if given that status.

ATQ: What brought you to the University of Oregon?

Coach Orr: The dream of bringing NCAA hockey to the University of Oregon is the reason I am here. I truly believe it is the perfect place for a D1 hockey team. My assistant coach, Cooper Limb, and I uprooted our lives to come out to Eugene and build the program up with the end goal of making the jump. We have made many sacrifices in order to do so, but we have faith in this program and we are very invested in this team.

ATQ: How does recruiting work as a non-varsity sport?

Coach Orr: Recruiting at the ACHA level can be tricky. Since we are unable to give out scholarships, we really have to find kids who have a love for the game and a desire to continue their careers. My assistant coach and I travelled to recruitment showcases and had a lot of success. Other than that, we do a lot of online research on players and then reach out to their coaches to gauge interest. The University of Oregon sells itself, and kids seem to love the idea of playing in a community that is so supportive of their athletes.

ATQ: What can fans do to support this team?

Coach Orr: Come out and show support! We are thrilled with the team we have this upcoming season. I wholeheartedly believe we will be one of the top teams in the country. We really appreciate the enthusiasm from the fans, and we thank them for their support. We could not do this without them.

And if Coach Rylee Orr’s passion for the program isn’t enough for you lazy Duck fans to fly to the rink,