BRYAN WILSON – 07.17.2023

Trent Cull is ready to get started behind the bench in Calgary.

Cull was announced as the Wranglers next head coach on Monday and brings with him a lengthy coaching resume, which includes developing top prospects for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 2017 AHL Eastern Conference championship with the Syracuse Crunch as head coach, and a promotion to assistant coach of the Vancouver Canucks last season.

After an off-season chalk full of changes in Calgary – (both at the AHL and NHL level) – Cull’s goal is to make sure their remains consistency between the Wranglers and the Flames.

“Anything I can do to make sure we have the same culture, language, practice drills, systems … anything that we can do to make it easier for the players. I think that’s the goal,” Cull explained. “We want to develop those hockey players to be Calgary Flames, so however we can make it easier for that group to get there and feel good about themselves and make that transition a little easier, I think that’s the goal.”

The Wranglers established a winning culture last season, wrapping up their inaugural Calgary campaign with 106 points, and a MacGregor Kilpatrick trophy, awarded to the AHL team with the most wins (51) during the regular season.

While playing and coaching in any Canadian market can be demanding, it’s something Cull is familiar with, and he understands, inherently, that the bar is always set high.

“The ultimate goal is for the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup, and for me, it’s making sure we’re putting players on the Flames and putting those kids into a great situation too,” Cull said. “Being in the same city … that’s fantastic … to be able to see where you want to go, being a part of that fan base and being in Canada, I think is just awesome.”

“Nothing makes me feel better,” he continued, speaking to player development. “It’s like a proud papa moment, when you’re doing a good job with the young guys and seeing them go up.”

As for his approach, it’s family first for Cull, who intends to bring his full crew – his wife Marcia and his three sons, Gabe (19), Wyatt (16) and Sam (13) – to Calgary soon to get a lay of the land.

“I want to get my family out there so they can check it out from there,” said Cull. “It’s always been us, my three sons, as well. We’re very ‘thick’ I guess you’d say, especially as they’ve gotten older. They’ve certainly helped me become a better coach, so I want them to be a part of all the steps that our family now takes too.”

Having heaps of experience in the AHL should lend well to Cull’s transition to the Wranglers. Prior to his coaching career, he also played parts of eight seasons in the league and uses that experience to help form his coaching philosophy.

“It really helped me in the sense of knowing what your American league players have to do, how much they have to play and how big a part they play,” he explained. “Sometimes you question it, when you’re a head coach in the AHL and doing it every day, but then when you get that taste of being in the NHL you realize how important that farm system is, and those young players who are coming up in a salary cap driven hockey world. It’s a great refresher course and I’m really excited to come back as a head coach. I love being a head coach, I did for five years in the American league and its something I was coveting, something I was hunting and I’m very excited to be back doing it.”