Rich Kromm is the type of guy the Thunder had to hire to be the next coach.
Now we’ll see if he can build on the best season in franchise history.
The veteran coach was named to replace Matt Thomas on Monday. He’s 49 years old with nine seasons of pro coaching to his credit, and won a championship 14 years ago in the United Hockey League.
He’s had winning and losing seasons, and he knows how to build a roster quickly and efficiently.
And the Thunder needs to move fast. Because of the long playoff run and Thomas’ departure, the Thunder found itself in mid-July without a coach. Owner Brad Rowbotham knew this was not the time to experiment with an untested assistant or really gamble as the Las Vegas Wranglers did when it promoted newly retired captain Mike Madill to coach.
Rowbotham wanted a known quantity with a cell phone full of contacts, and he got one. Kromm was fired by the Evansville IceMen after last season, its first season in the ECHL after a move up from the Central Hockey League. But coaches, good and bad, get fired all the time
We’ll see if he can win Stockton, where fans finally got a taste of real on-ice success. But at first glance, Rowbotham made a smart, pragmatic choice.