1-on-1 With Steve Potvin

Tucson Roadrunners Head Coach Steve Potvin joined Adrian Denny, Kim Cota-Robles and Arizona Daily Star Sports Editor Brett Fera this week on Roadrunners Happy Hour. Catch Happy Hour every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450 AM and the Roadrunners Happy Hour Podcast on the iHeartRadio app. For the complete episode, and to hear about Brett’s SeaTac circles, download below.

Listen to “Potvin Back On The Show” on Spreaker.

Q: Is that mid-season road trip still a challenge this year even though it got split up by the All-Star break?

I think so. I think just listening to Kirkie (Justin Kirkland), what he was saying after the game, you haven’t been in your bed for a long time. And All-Star break, a lot of guys kind of take that moment to go somewhere or stay at different places and when you just come off of the road, you never get your bearings at home. So I think the guys are looking forward to that (being home). Then you know the unfortunate thing is that after you spend that amount of time on the road, you come back, and your first practice is at Mullett Arena (in Tempe). They got to sleep in their own beds last night, but we’re not quite back to our rhythm yet. We’ll get back into our real rhythm (this week). I know our guys are looking forward to being back at the TCC.

Q: When you came home from Iowa on Sunday, was there any moment that made it seem like you had been gone for a long time?

I guess it’s just more about the routine, you know? You like to get back into the rhythm, I know for myself, you get up pretty early and you have an hour and a half to really dive into your thoughts and dive into how you want to approach the team, approach the day, what type of practice you’re going to have. So, a lot of times when you’re not in that rhythm, you don’t have as much time, you’re not in your own routine, it just throws you off a little bit. Those are the things that we talk about daily, is that we have to be able to respond and react to make difficult situations better. We have to keep growing and having the mental strength to always keep our goals and what we want out of this season ahead of us. And basically, keep being the person that you are, and the person that you’re striving to become right there at the forefront. So, routines are definitely a part of it, but we also have to be able to behave out of routine.

Q: What did you do during the All-Star Break? How did you recharge?

I tried to do what I could to spend as much time as I could with my family and it’s an easy thing to say but it’s another thing to do because you’re always behind the wheel, you’re always trying to find ways to improve. When you’re dealing with 25 players and people there’s 25 different mindsets, I am always thinking about something. How are they evolving? How are they responding to certain situations? You keep each player in mind, and so a lot of times during breaks, you reevaluate, reassess, and then you also have to do the same thing for yourself. While you’re on a break, you also have to reflect on how you’re doing and if you are properly motivating yourself, are you continuing to take the strides, and are you listening to what the objective is clearly? Or is it tainted a little bit? And so during that time, it was important to reflect, but it was more important to really dive into my family and really show appreciation for them, they allow me to do this every day. So, you know, it was important to spend time with my wife, Nada, and the three kids.

Q: We added a few new players over the off-season in Matt Villalta, Justin Kirkland, and John Leonard to name a few; but one guy that we added during the season last year was Steven Kampfer. Can you speak on him a little bit?

We talk about good humans. We added a good human, and we added somebody that loves the game. This guy not only loves the game, he likes to compete, he likes to find that next level and he finds a way to push himself through some adverse times.  He’s able to lead himself and lead others through the process so we’re lucky to have a player that has that type of mindset. We’re lucky to have a player that’s gone through it and has won before at the highest level and achieved winning a Stanley Cup (2011, Boston Bruins). We all know how challenging and how difficult that is and you need things to fall into place and you need guys to buy in and have the ability to grow and see the bigger picture and really be selfless. At that point, you’re really not playing for yourself. Although there’s great rewards for self, you have to put the team in front of your own selfish desires and we’re lucky to have a player that’s gone through it at the highest level.

Q: Our players have meshed well, but how do the coaches mesh? What does that look like from your point of view?

It’s a really good mix of coaches. We’ve got John Slaney that’s been at it for a long time, and he’s got a little bite and a little bark to him, and he’s got an old school flavor, but he’s a tireless worker, and he’s very passionate about the areas that he leads. He wants to do well with the penalty kill and he leads the four-on-four, we talk about those situations. He’s very passionate about it and he wants to see them do well. He takes ownership of it and makes sure that he leads the areas that he’s meant to lead. Of course, with the defense, these are his children. He treats them like they’re his kids, he wants to see them do well, he protects them, and he also pushes them. Whenever there’s direction from management, he takes it seriously. Then you’ve got Zack. Zack Stortini has been with us for two years now. He’s a person that’s willing to learn. He’s got tremendous leadership qualities. He knows how to interact with the players. He’s been in some very difficult situations as a player, and he knows what it takes to persevere through those. He’s very gifted, he’s talented, he’s able to really have some strong meetings. He shows up every day with the intention of learning. So, it’s really been good having that type of nucleus. Then we have Jake Wagman. There’s no situation that we can’t handle because we have Jake. If it gets difficult he’s just like “ah we know we can get it done.” He’s just one of those guys, he’s also a tireless worker but he just does it so effortlessly that you don’t think he works hard at it. We’re so lucky to have him, he pushes the boundaries for our team, and he looks for ways to improve our players and improve the staff also. He’s a good mediator between management and the coaching staff. He kind of bridges the gap of communication between the two. We’re so lucky to have him. Then we have our trainers and our medical staff. We’ve all been together for quite some time so there’s layers of communication and depth through the process that we’ve gone through and that we continue to try to improve on. The communication has been good. And, you know, our team and players are beneficiaries.

Q: If you had a goal song, what would it be?

A goal scoring song? I don’t know. I think “How do You Like Me Now?” (The Heavy)