Glass Sees Mentorship Opportunity In Return to San DiegoJan 11, 2021
The San Diego Gulls opened their annual Training Camp on Monday, Jan. 11 at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine, Calif. SanDiegoGulls.com will provide an in-depth look as the team spends the next 25 days preparing for the condensed 2020-21 season.
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Jeff Glass knew he wanted to return to San Diego.
The veteran netminder, who signed a one-year American Hockey League contract with the Gulls on January 11, kept his eye on his former team during the long offseason. The player and organization stayed in touch, eventually bringing the Calgary, Alberta native back in the fold.
“We have a super highly skilled group here and we won’t have any trouble putting the puck in the net," Glass said following the team’s first training camp session at Great Park Ice in Irvine. “I’m pretty confident of that. They’ll be a lot of goals scored this year in different ways. Obviously, my job will be to help keep the goals out of the net. I think we’ll have a really strong team defensively as well.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the group. It was kind of a young group forming when I was here (during the 2018-19 season), and now everyone has taken a couple years to develop and grow, individually and as a team. Here we are now even more poised to go on and do good things.”
Gulls fans remember Glass for his performance during the 2019 Calder Cup Payoffs, where he started 7-3-0 as the team reached the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. Along the way, the goalie set a new team record when he stopped 51 shots in a five-overtime victory of Game 1 of their second round series against the Bakersfield Condors.
A year in hockey brings several changes, and Glass returns to the team with a new coach behind the bench. The goaltender and Kevin Dineen spent time together with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2017-18 season, and the familiarity helped Glass fit in right away.
“I’m very familiar with him and I was really quite excited to know that Kevin would be running the ship here because he demands hard work, he demands quick pace – all the things you want out of a hockey team,” he said. “We’ll be a hard-working group that skates hard. It should be pretty entertaining.”
Changes to the National Hockey League’s rosters in this COVID-shortened season left San Diego searching for a veteran netminder. Dineen admitted former Gulls netminder Anthony Stolarz could spend time on Anaheim’s taxi squad or as the backup to John Gibson, which left the Gulls with the prospect of young netminders battling for the crease.
“When we bring in a Jeff Glass, we're bringing in somebody that has a depth of experience and someone with an experience for the game,” Dineen said when asked about Glass joining the team. “He's going to be a great resource for our young goaltenders here and even those in the ECHL.”
The opportunity to play - and pay it forward as a potential mentor - was a deciding factor in Glass’ return to San Diego.
“I’ve definitely played hockey at this level and several different levels for that matter. It was less about that and more about the opportunity to mentor young guys as I phase into that part of my career. Some guys dread this part and I’ve always looked forward to the part where you can help other guys along and look to enhance their careers in any way you can and take pride in that.
“It’ll be a little different mentality coming to the rink this year and I welcome that.”