Video determinationBy: Mitch Peacock | Published: December 19th 2015
“Thanks for your interest, we’ll keep your information on file.”
It’s an answer most of us have gotten when looking for a job, and usually the feeling is “yeah right”.
Well you know what? Sometimes those generic replies turn into something special.
Will Craig is the video coach for the Manitoba Moose, but before he earned his break into the world of pro hockey he paid some dues and took a chance.
Let’s start with the chance.
Last spring Craig was coming off of a season as the video coach for the Green Bay (WI) Gamblers of the USHL (a role that also included on-ice work with the players and scouting) , and getting ready for another summer working with the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds baseball club, when he decided to invest in his future with a trip to Florida.
I know that doesn’t sound like a big chore, but it wasn’t for surf and sun it was to attend the American Hockey Coaches Association Conference in Naples.
The idea being; meet some people in the game, make some contacts, and then follow-up to see if there’s a way to move up the ladder.
One of the speakers at the Conference was Jets’ Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager/Moose General Manager Craig Heisinger.
Will listened to Heisinger’s presentation and later sent him an introductory e-mail.
From there Craig got that familiar reply, but this one wasn’t just polite professionalism. A little while down the road Craig was approached about joining the Moose as they re-settled in Winnipeg.
It didn’t take long for the 23 year-old to say yes, and now he’s lending his skills to head coach Keith McCambridge, assistant coach Mark Morrison, and goalie coach Rick St. Croix.
It’s a big step for the native of Virginia Beach, VA but it’s a terrific opportunity to learn and contribute and just one step away from the NHL.
As for those dues? Craig spent two seasons as a student equipment manager for the NCAA division 1 men’s hockey team while working towards a BSc. In Sport Management at Bowling Green University (OH) before switching his attention to coaching.
That shift led to a an assistant coaching role with the renowned Detriot Honeybaked U-16 team while he continued his studies. A role that allowed him to build a base in video work and player recruiting.
Before all of that, Craig grew up around the game in Virginia playing minor hockey and watching minor pro hockey before finding his calling.
His career path has also seen him work two seasons in pro baseball and serve an internship at Detroit Tigers’ Spring Training.
But, with Craig there’s little doubt about his favourite sport based on this response to that question; “baseball is a good job, but hockey is the passion.”
As for his day-to-day duties now? Let’s just say he spends a lot of time watching hockey on his computer and preparing video for the coaches to share with the players.
Everything from special teams, to five-on-five play, to goaltending, and individual shifts is prepared and studied at the AHL level and Will Craig helps make it happen.
Not bad for a guy who took a chance and kept the faith I’d say.
The Moose visit Milwaukee Saturday, December 19th and Chicago Monday, December 21st; both game start at 7pm.
You can listen LIVE on moosehockey.com starting with the pre-game show at 6:45pm
Manitoba is back on home ice New Year’s Eve when they host the Iowa Wild in a 4pm start, visit moosehockey.com/tickets or any Ticketmaster location to get your ticket to the action.