NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — Coach Ryan Anderson is a mere three hours removed from the first puck drop of the 2021 NA3HL Postseason. What is three more hours when one has waited 24 months for this day? The transition from a successful regular season to the playoffs is cumbersome for any organization. There is a stress in being so singularly focused on defending a Fraser Cup. To prolong that stress for two seasons for any reason, including a pandemic, is enough pressure for any mere mortal to crumple and cut corners. Not Coach Anderson – who was kind enough to allow this five-minute interview while he was eating dinner alone in his office overlooking the storied Shoebox at NYTEX Sports Centre.
Truly, Coach Anderson doesn’t have time for this interview, but one would not have noticed that as this reporter entered the open door and took a seat. With a smile, Coach Anderson waves and invites a sit-down. When asked if he is watching game tape, he laughed and said, “No I’m watching an HBO documentary about this (politically slanted conspiracy) nonsense. So, No, I am not too busy to talk” as he politely moves his dinner aside.
A couple days earlier during practice, anyone within the facility would have heard “The Admiral” (as he is affectionately nick-named by the Brahmas Front Office) was easily heard yelling at the players with emphasis, spicy language, and a specific context. Was this a matter of not paying attention perhaps? Clowning? Too loose? “Honestly I don’t even remember. It was something, but what’s the point in hanging on to a source of frustration? Just fix the problem. Move on. That’s all it is,” said Anderson as he made a subtle side-glance at his dinner, now losing heat rapidly and filling his office with a most enjoyable TexMex fragrance.
When asked to comment on the chemistry of the 2021 NA3HL Texas Brahmas, he smiled and leaned back a little in his chair. “There’s a lot of love in the room. They care about each other. Right? It’s just a group that loves being around each other. We don’t have anybody that is on the outside; everyone’s in the circle. We have to work at it – it doesn’t come easy, but we have a great group of veterans that have won. They have shown the new guys why we’ve won. Everybody has bought in, and it gets really easy when you’re playing FOR somebody and not just with somebody.”
The Admiral does not get jitters. His steely glance as he rebuffs the notion of the question is rather convincing. “I mean yeah, you can get nervous. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get a little nervous, right? But we also have to trust in the preparation. Ok? We spend time with the video, and how we spend time with the practices, working on the things that matter. So maybe yeah, you’re nervous, but that’s because you want to see how well you can play.”
“Keep on Truckin” is the motto that the team motivated around this year. It’s a nod to the classic Grateful Dead song about perseverance. Several individuals on the team, the organization, and the Coach are all noted fans of the iconic psychedelic rock band. The motto is emblematic upon the playoffs shirts for sale online and the NYTEX Sports Shop. “We don’t want to give anyone any bulletin board material,” Coach Anderson quips as this reporter departs the office.
Time enough to finish dinner and his brief moments of personal time before he is back to business. Business is good.
Samuel is the Director of Communications for Brahmas Hockey and the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Photo Credit: Sydney Johnson, Brahmas Media & Community Relations Manager
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