04/07/2009 5:44 PM
Lou Fritz is a man who’s not afraid to log miles, starting out in Cleveland Ohio, his playing career took around the Midwest and finally to New York, as a coach he started in Cleveland moved to Alaska and finally down to Texas.
The newest addition to the Rhinos organization, Lou will provide the Rhinos more presence in Texas as well as provide another set of eyes and ears as the Rhinos gear up the recruiting machine for another country wide talent search.
I got a chance to catch up with Lou via telephone for a few quick questions between recruiting calls.
SG - Lou what is your hockey background?
LF - I began playing hockey when I was 5 back in Cleveland, OH. I played for 17 years which included Juniors in the CSHL and NAHL, then went on to play DIII for Utica College in NY.
After college hockey I started coaching at the youth AAA level, then took a job as the Assistant with my former Junior team in Cleveland. I spent 4 seasons there working in that position as well as Head Coaching a few Midget AAA and AA teams for the program.
In the 2007-2008 season, I accepted the Assistant position for the NAHL expansion Kenai River Brown Bears and headed to Alaska. This past summer I spoke with the Dallas Hawks about the Head Coach position but it wasn't until October that they decided they needed a change.
I accepted the position, and unfortunately, the community support and overall interest in the program was lacking and the ownership decided it was best to fold the franchise.
SG - What was your familiarity with The Rhinos?
LF - I've coached at the Tier III level, and the scouting and recruiting process can be grueling and competitive.
Since their inception, the Rhinos have always been excellent at obtaining players and giving them a fantastic opportunity for development.
In Junior Hockey circles the El Paso franchise has been known as a top notch organization since day 1, most who coach, or play Junior hockey have heard of them.
It wasn't until the 07-08 season, however, that I worked with anyone involved with the Rhinos.
We had a player by the name of Tad Norris playing for us in Kenai, Alaska.
The previous season he had been with the Rhinos and done very well, toward the end of the season we sent Tad back to the Rhinos so that he could make a run at the Thorne Cup and a National Title.
The professionalism and sincerity of the Rhino's staff during this deal was second to none, and I knew then, that not only do they carry a tradition of winning, but they do it while promoting and respecting their players.
After speaking with Coach Cory Herman throughout last season, and the unfortunate circumstances with the Dallas organization, Coach Herman offered me an opportunity to work with He and Trevor Converse on the scouting staff.
**In addition to scouting for the Rhinos, Lou will also be coaching youth hockey in the Dallas area, as a Head coach at the Bantam level and Assistant with U16 AAA.
Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of their excellent hockey club and hopefully help them continue their success.
SG - Are you excited for the 2009-10 season to start?
LF - I am excited at the chance to be a part of this staff.
On top of the team facilities, the fan support and the community of El Paso should will be an excellent recruiting tool to bring home another Thorne Cup title in 2010.