What Curt Malawsky lacked in talent as a player he made up for with drive and passion to be better. Now as he prepares to make his debut as a professional head coach, Malawsky brings his same playing values to the coaching side of things. “My philosophy is the family aspect of coaching and that comes from my playing days,” Malawsky told ILIndoor. “You can rely on me and I’ll rely on you and I’ll run through the wall for you and we’ll bleed for each other and at the end of the day it’s all about the family.”
Malawsky has been around lacrosse most of his life, growing up playing lacrosse in Coquitlam. His uncle Al introduced him to the sport, giving him his first stick when he was four years old.
“I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of years in the NLL and see how things work,” said Malawksy, who capped his playing days winning an NLL title with the Roughnecks in 2009.
In Port Coquitlam, Malawsky got into coaching at 21, taking a team that nobody wanted and turned them into provincial champions.
“We didn’t start out great,” Malawsky admitted. “But it was pretty special to see a group of kids who were castaways come together as a team with a common purpose.”
Malawsky was hooked right then and there, and has since won three Canadian Jr. A Minto Cup titles as coach of the Burnaby Lakers in 2004/05 and with the Coquitlam Adanacs in 2010. Countless hours were spent at the rink practicing his game and now, as a coach, Malawsky is still a student of the game and spends more time going to games and watching tape.
Malawksy also knows the history of the game and has great admiration for those who have paved the way before him.
“If I ever have the chance to sit down with one of the old time lacrosse guys or the coaches that I admire, I pick their brains and learn,” said Malawsky. “And I take everything I can pick up, and I try to put it into my own style.”
He credits Brad Bannister for bringing lacrosse to Alberta and for giving him a chance to coach and former Roughneck head coach Dave Pym for taking him under his wing. Joining Malawsky on the bench is Bob McMahon and former Roughneck Bruce Codd. Codd and Malawsky were teammates in Calgary and played the game with the same drive.
“I think we both see the game the same way … Bruce has a vast knowledge of the game and the guys in the room and knows defence really well,” said Malawsky. “McMahon is very good friend and father figure so to speak. He’s been a head coach and has so much to offer, he is a guy that has really kept this team together and he’s won at every level.”
The Roughnecks had a successful draft taking Joe Resetarits sixth overall and coming back with the seventh pick, taking Matthew Dinsdale. They will add depth to a young Roughnecks roster, who don’t have a player over 31. Leadership comes from young guns, like Shawn Evans and Jeff Shattler, and a healthy and highflying Curtis Dickson will give the offence a boost.
One of the biggest challenges facing Calgary is the majority of the team is out of province and can only fly in on weekends allowing a light Friday night practice, a disadvantage where other teams can go hard mid week and rest for the weekend game.
Malawsky has some systematic adjustments and his own spin on how things will go; he has a plan.
“We are going to play a more high tempo game and use some guys in some positions that they might not have been comfortable with before,” said Malawksy. “We talk about being the hardest working team and I think that goes hand in hand with fitness.”
As a coach, Malawsky has to make sure no stone is left unturned to help prepare the team.
“As a coach you have to do everything you can possible to make sure the guys are ready to play … But at the end of the day the players are the ones who go to war and battle.”
The Roughnecks kick off the 2013 NLL season at home vs. the Toronto Rock. Sat. Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. MST.
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