Vancouver – Tim Hunter hoisted the Stanley Cup and led the NHL penalty minutes twice before he got some bugs by coaching at the end of his career.
He said he realized he wanted to be a coach while playing under Pat Quinn with the Vancouver Canucks from 1992 to 1996.
It's just fitting that it's here, in the shadow of the statue of the Great Irishman in the building on Pat Queen Road, that Hunter won his moment to shine as head coach of the Canada team at the Junior World Championship.
Hunter has definitely applied some lessons learned from the Hall of Fame coach. He remembered his favorite story on Friday, when Quinn took off at one break in Winnipeg.
He said Quinn came into the locker room and put in a five-gallon gas bucket. "As if it were a mug on the table.
"We're like 'wow!'" Said Hunter.
Kevin picked up the next goal.
"They had big drums of 50 liters, steel drums like garbage cans, and I look at him and he boots that can and it does not move," said Hunter. "So he left the room and I'm like 'Wow!' I walk over and drive the box, and it's full of half cement."
"You have to rattle their chains from time to time," said Hunter. "But yes, I'm going to make sure I do not kick every cement can."
Hunter, now 58, has played the second violin for most of the last two decades. After a career of 815-NHL, he followed Ron Wilson as an assistant coach in the league to more than 1,100 games with stops in Washington, San Jose and Toronto before rejoining Beirut for a shortened season under Adam Oates.
Even in the World Junior, Hunter was an assistant under Dominic Dukharma for the last two tournaments, before Ducharme was hired as assistant of the year by Montreal Canadiens.
It was not until 2014, at the age of 54, that Hunter finally became a coach with the fighters of Los Maw Los. It made him feel a bit sorry.
"I look back on my coaching career and I probably have to go out and be the main coach a lot earlier and I'm stuck working with Ron," said Hunter. "I liked working for Ron and 14 years being a coach assistant, [but] I had to be a head coach much earlier. "
This is Hunter's moment on the big stage, his opportunity to impress as a potential NHL head coaching candidate.
Mike Babcock, Claude Gillian, Mike Keanan, Dave King, Brent Sutter and Craig Hartsburg all trained Canada at the Junior World Championships before passing the NHL.
Training in NHL is more and more a game of a young person, but Hunter has proved that he has evolved. With Maple Leafs, Wilson Hunter developed a reputation that they were sometimes disdainful with players.
The current generation of NHL players, and even more than that for thousands of years now that Hunter is a guideline, takes more listening. They want to be involved and involved in the process, they did not say what to do.
Hunter seems to have learned that.
"Last night after the game, I had the points to say, and then I went around the room and I had every player talk about his feelings about how we played so far and how they played the game," Hunter said on Friday. "It was great because a lot of guys said the same thing, they had good comments, everyone knows where we're going, everyone knows where we need to improve, it was a great conversation, when you have a family, the friends can hold themselves. It's their responsibility to check their ego on the door. "They were honest about things in advance about the things we needed to work on."
Make no mistake, Hunter is still carrying a stick – and he is not afraid to use it. He set Alexis to 17-year-old Pernier, who is expected in the NHL 2020 draft on his play against Switzerland on Thursday night.
"He was there on the plot like he was a free skater, a lot of circles in his game," Hunter said to Franner. "We talked to him about it and showed him the video and I explained to him," I told him at the beginning of the game, "You're going to show me whether you've got it or not, we're going to limit your ice time."
It will now be up to Hunter to re-engage young, high-end players like Lafreniere and Joey Veleno to see if he can squeeze most of them out of favor in Canada. They were chosen for a party. They can make other plays can not.
Really, the rest of the tournament will be on buttons the Hunter chooses to push, and how his team responds. He drew them out before the tournament, who lost the brakes after a 14-0 victory over Denmark, and now it will be necessary to pump tires on special teams.
Only for the third time in the last nine competitions – a range of 47 games – the Canada team was outscored by their opponent on special teams.
Not only does the entire nation watch every move of the Hunter, but so does the NHL. He never shoots better.
But for now, Hunter said gold is his only focus.
"It's very important, I'm proud and proud to coach this team," said Hunter. "Look what's happening, all the people here are interviewing Tim Hunter, so it's a pretty cool thing, I believe in myself and it's an honor to be part of Hockey Canada."
Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli