The 5th of a 14 part series of quotes and interviews I had stored on my voice recorder which never saw the light of day.
The 2016-17 opening weekend was full of excitement for the Cleveland Monsters. They had a beautiful banner raising to commemorate the 2016 Calder Cup win and swept their opposition. All of this happened while the Cleveland Indians were playing next door heading deep in the playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays.
After the sweep, Eli Mooneyham, a Monsters beat reporter at the time, and I chatted with Captain Ryan Craig about the weekend and what it was like to see the championship banner hanging from the rafters.
Ryan, being the leader of this team, what did you see so far has there been anything significant from last year’s team to this one?
Well I think obviously we have some returning guys that have started off right where we left off. And I think it’s a positive for us to have this, you know, four points over the weekend against a home rival. Everything. Two good crowds. Two loud crowds.Cleveland buzzing with the Indians. There are lots of positives. But for our team, I think it was a good first weekend. we didnt play any exhibition games here as a group. so this was a bit of a feeling out process and now we get a week of practice and get to go do it on the road.
As a captain, through your own eyes, how was it to watch that banner to get raised last night? And then to win again?
I’m not trying to speak for everybody but I’m sure everybody has some goosebumps and a memory going through their head about that.It’s great to see. That’s a banner that will be there forever. That’s the part of that group that will forever be remembered and be that team that won a championship here. Now, we’re trying to do it again. With returning guys and also new guys and new energy and a new coach, and all the things that come with it. When you win, there’s some turnover and that’s what you want to see but we’re, we’re real excited about our start now there’s still 74 games that go
How do you manage to help foster such great team chemistry? It seems like no matter where you go when you’re a captain you’re teams have amazing chemistry.
I’m surrounded by good people. It’s honestly good people being in the right situation. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some real good leaders, some real good coaches. People have put me in a position to be a captain but also I’ve been surrounded by real good teammates.It’s amazing what happens when everyone buys in. We saw what happened last year with our team, the selflessness. Everyone competed for each other night in and night out. We are trying to bring that again.
Playing two games under Coach Madden now, do you feel like there are any significant coaching changes in the style of coaching from Coach Bednar to Coach Madden now?
Well there’s little tweaks and certain things like that. I mean, I think he’s still learning our group. We didn’t play any exhibition games. He saw certain guys sporadically, whether it was in Traverse City, with the young guys, and then our guys playing one or two games with the Blue Jackets. So, I think it’s a good week. I’m sure he’ll digest a lot of what our team did this weekend and, and we got a good week of practice here like I said coming up before we go on the road. We can get our team together then.