Admirals Set High Standard of Success
By: Jason Karnosky
When it comes down a history of success on the ice in the American Hockey League, the Milwaukee Admirals carry few peers.
Since transitioning over from the International Hockey League to start the 2001-2002 season, Milwaukee has earned a staggering 1,014 points, averaging 42.3 wins per campaign. In that span the Admirals have missed the playoffs just once (in its inaugural AHL season), played in two Calder Cup finals (2004 and 2006) and captured one championship (2004).
It is that winning tradition that makes every Milwaukee player proud to take the ice at the Bradley Center donning Admirals sweater.
“Milwaukee’s definitely a winning team in the AHL and that’s our pedigree,” Admirals forward Chris Mueller said. “The team is always in the playoffs and it is an organization that moves its players up to the National Hockey League because its wins games.”
The backbone of that pedigree is the quality of the staff put in place throughout the entire organization. Thanks to its top notch ownership, front office and high quality coaches, Admirals players are always placed in a situation beneficial to their career.
“The people Nashville brings in here from the players to the staff are (the biggest reason) for Milwaukee’s history of success,” Admirals coach Ian Herbers said. “The team (is stocked) with good character people and that’s true throughout the entire organization.”
Herbers is the next in line of a coaching staff that included the likes of Kirk Muller, Claude Noel and Todd Richards and Lane Lambert. Three of those four previous coaches have earned head jobs in the NHL, while Lambert was recently promoted to become an assistant coach with the Predators.
But in order to win games, and Milwaukee has won a lot of them over the past 10 years (447 to be exact), the quality of talent within the organization has to be high.
Every year Nashville fills up its AHL affiliate with skaters ready to compete in the NHL.
“We are an organization (that as a whole) is developed from within and has succeeded from within,” Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton said. “In order sustain that kind of success in the NHL you need a really strong farm system.”
Making that system run like a well-oiled machine requires the selection of the right prospects in the entry draft. Nashville’s front office goes to great lengths each summer to find players to fit their tenacious style of play.
“The Predators do a good job of drafting guys with good character, who are willing to work and have that relentless mentality the franchise strives for,” Admirals forward Blake Geoffrion said. “Everyone in our dressing room is like that.”
The ultimate goal of any AHL player is earn a trip to the NHL, just like it is the ultimate goal of AHL teams to foster the development of their prospects. Nashville is an