There’s nothing sadder than a hockey team without a GM. But while the Sharks have filled that position, Sharks fans wonder if it was the right move.
In what can be considered a “Ted Lasso” move, Sharks ownership have announced the hiring of Canadian amateur race-walking coach JP Mercier as General Manager for the upcoming season. The move baffles in its nature, but if there’s only thing the Bay Area needs, it’s a feel-good story!
Mercier was introduced to the pool press (of 2 journalists) covering the Sharks earlier today and made what we can qualify as a lasting impression. Was it bad? Was it good? We still have a tough time deciding on that one. But the fact he brought freshly baked homemade muffins to the press corps was sure to start the relation on a nice, but weird foot.
The new GM was quick to point out that his history as a race-walking coach wasn’t necessarily the “usual” background for the job. But for him “developing a team or an individual is the same”. There are not 100 techniques, according to Mercier. There’s three: “you can either practice, there’s PEDs, or there’s money”.
He wouldn’t elaborate how money could help in amateur sports, but we’ll take a guess that he was talking about building a team through free agency, like “the New York Rangers dynasty that saw Bobby Holik earn the money he was entitled to” he cited as an example.
Is this the best fans could hope for? Probably not. But that’s what they got. And the new GM has been hard at work for the past few hours, preparing the team for the new season. Should we expect a lot of roster moves?
“I don’t see us as a player on the trade market. I like to build through the draft, stick with the team.”
Which means the Sharks might be years away from a Stanley Cup, but Mercier said “the fans are used to that here” and that “when he brings a winning culture, it’ll be the first time in franchise history”.
Humble. Race-walking. Coach.
And now, there’s only one more question remaining… What’s the goal for this year’s Sharks?
“Make the playoffs. Or develop a team that will make the playoff in the future. Whichever is great.”
Talk about commitment.