Two former Portland Winterhawks getting the Tri-City Americans ready for the upcoming season — that’s not something you see every day.
This week, Adam Deadmarsh is back on the ice in Kennewick as a guest coach for good friend and former teammate Mike Williamson, who is starting his third year behind the bench with Tri-City.
“It was a lot of fun playing here,” Deadmarsh said of his four years (1991-95) with the Winterhawks. “(Tri-City) had an exciting crowd and a great team back then. I remember coming here and having some pretty intense games, that’s for sure. The rink doesn’t look a lot different — I guess it’s older — but when I walk out to the ice, it brings back a lot of memories, looking out there and remembering some of the guys who played back then.”
Williamson said he asked Deadmarsh to come in and lend a hand.
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“When he put his Americans tracksuit coat on today, I told him that it might itch him for a day or two,” Williamson said. “I have stayed in touch with Adam since we played in Portland. I knew he was close (in Spokane) and was hoping he might be willing to help out in some capacity. We aren’t sure exactly how that will work right now. He has a wealth of knowledge. He has a lot of NHL experience and can see a lot of things that I don’t pick up that can help us out.”
That includes a fresh perspective when breaking down film.
“Just sitting down today, we were watching a few clips and stuff, and Adam pointed some things out that we hadn’t seen,” Williamson said. “I think anytime you bring people together that share a goal to figure something out and talk hockey, you are going to get different viewpoints.
“Adam played over 500 regular-season games and over 100 playoff games,” Williamson continued. “He would have played longer if he hadn’t got hurt (concussions). He has a Stanley Cup. He has a lot to lend to us. Our players will learn a lot from what he has to share.”
A first-round NHL pick (14th overall) of the Quebec Nordiques, the 6-foot, 205-pound Deadmarsh played nine seasons in the NHL with Quebec, the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings. He scored 184 goals with 189 assists over 567 regular-season games.
Deadmarsh won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996, as well as a silver medal with the United States at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“I feel very honored and blessed to have played as long as I did,” Deadmarsh said. “But junior (hockey) was the first stepping-stone to that, and for these kids, that’s what it’s all about.”
Deadmarsh, 41, watched the Tri-City players run through drills Tuesday, and admitted he was never in that good of shape coming into camp.
“I’m watching them do their exercises here in the hallway, and I think I might have rolled an ankle or something,” Deadmarsh said. “They are all in great shape. They take it very seriously. It’s different from when I played. We kind of went for a jog a few times during the summer and showed up to camp. Our summer involved more fishing, I think, and a bike ride or two.”
Being around the players also makes him feel a year or two younger — but that doesn’t last long.
“When I watch them skate around, I feel a lot older,” he said. “It brings back memories of hockey, which is what I miss and love to be around. It’s fun to be here.”
Price makes a surprise visit
Former Americans goalie Carey Price made a surprise appearance at practice Tuesday morning, and defenseman Dylan Coghlan was more than happy to suit up and shoot some pucks at the Montreal Canadiens goaltender.
“I got a text from Pelly (Tri-City assistant coach Brian Pellerin) the night before, asking if I would shoot on him,” Coghlan said. “How could you say no? That’s the best goalie in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to shoot on him?”
Price, who is scheduled to play in the World Cup of Hockey from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto, was in town visiting family.
“It was a great opportunity for them, and Carey wanted to get on the ice and feel some pucks,” Williamson said. “Our guys were thrilled. I think they were a bit nervous at first. He is such a classy guy and a humble guy. You would never know he is the player he is. He is a Tri-City American, and he’s proud of where he came from.”
Parker Wotherspoon, Tyler Sandhu and Vladislav Lukin joined Coghlan on the ice for the session.
“It was kind of weird,” Coghlan said. “I’m used to seeing him on TV. Shooting on him sure was special.”