A week after resigning his post as head coach in Grand Rapids, Trent Klatt is back. Here are a few closing thoughts on a tiring week of hockey news:
- I took down my post from last week for one reason: it insinuated (though did not state directly) that Klatt had been forced out. That was bad information; he resigned of his own accord. I stand by everything else.
- For the past week, Grand Rapids has been a black hole from which no good information emerged. This was frustrating to many people, including some with far more legitimate media credentials than my own. It also opened up a space for rumor and innuendo to run rampant. Just about every season there’s some sort of hockey controversy like this, but none topped this one for murkiness and lack of clarity. Clearly, there are lines we should not cross when talking about minors or dealing with the Data Practices Act. But in cases like this, I think it’s important to get out in front of the story, correct any falsehoods with facts, and acknowledge that things may not always be rosy. I will certainly uphold that standard and seek the truth if a similar situation ever arises at Duluth East, or at any other big-name program that I cover regularly.
- Some in Grand Rapids have noted, fairly, that some of the issues surrounding the team are hardly unique to Grand Rapids. (There’s a story brewing in Hibbing that will probably make this one look like little league, though there’s even less good information on that at this point.) We all made mistakes in high school. However, hockey players in prominent programs are in the public eye. Being the center of attention in a very loyal community can be a double-edged sword. That’s the burden of glory, and it’s a valuable thing to learn how to handle this when one is young, and still has some protections. Hopefully this is a learning experience for Klatt, his players, and the community, and it is also one that the rest of the state can glean something from, too.
- Being a head hockey coach is very, very hard. I discussed this with a few other people over the course of the week, and Klatt acknowledged it in his interviews today: the part of coaching we see during games is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a steep learning curve for all of the behind-the-scenes work, and doing it effectively requires support from a loyal group of assistants. Things can spiral out of control quickly, and when that happens, it’s often necessary to step away for a moment before regrouping. Klatt took some time to think, and in that time, he got to see how much support he had.
- Grand Rapids is very fortunate to have Klatt back. He did excellent work this past season, and while it may be a while until Rapids has another group like this one, there are still plenty of weapons in the arsenal, and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the coming years. The community should now be aware of how lucky it is to have him. I’m happy that we can now put this behind us and now, hopefully, enjoy a Minnesota spring.