Ryane Clowe was a take-no-prisoners kind of hockey player. On the ice and off, he earned the respect of teammates and foes through a 10-year NHL career.
There’s a story going around that following a 4-2 playoff loss to the Chicago Blackhawks years ago, Clowe kicked the San Jose Sharks’ locker room door. A few times, really. Darn near tore the thing off its hinges. He cracked off a hockey stick. Threw a garbage can.
And he was never afraid to challenge teammates to do better, face to face. Criticizing through the media was never his style.
"Some people are cheerleaders," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told The Telegram in a 2011 story. "Who needs cheerleaders? You have to back it up, you have to come to the rink and perform every day, and Clowie does that. He has credibility.
"He performs on the ice and he backs up whatever it is he has to say. There's not one guy in that locker room who can say Ryane Clowe doesn't back up his words."
Clowe is all about winning, and he’s all about development, but there’s a culture in St. John’s he’s intent on creating.
“We’re trying to form into thinking that everything we do here is about development and understanding,” he said. “It’s about meeting standards, about how we practice, how we prepare, how we eat.
“I basically said we’re going to run this like the 32nd AHL team. And I think better than some AHL teams.”
The Growlers aren’t very big up front, but they’re quick. And with pace is how Clowe aims to see his team play this season.
“You’ll hear me say time and again, we want to control the middle, have speed through the middle.
“I tell the guys, ‘We don’t go back and defend just to defend.’ We’re not going to check, defend, change. No. We’re dictating things. Create things in the offensive zone. Break out fast, play fast.
“I don’t think you can play any other way these days. It’s not like you’re in a track meet up and down the ice, but you will see some of that at this level, for sure.”