WSHL 365: What’re the goals for you this season? Expectations?
Mickey Lang: Very simple, get better every day. My mindset as a player was always to be better today than I was yesterday, and be better tomorrow than I was today. As a coach I use the same approach, try to get each player to better themselves as players every day and for myself to continue to grow as a coach.
WSHL 365: How’re you liking coaching in the WSHL?
Mickey Lang: First and foremost, I love hockey. I loved playing it, I love teaching it and now I love coaching it. I am happy to be a part of the WSHL, although for myself, it really doesn’t matter what league I am in or who I am coaching. I love being part of a team, I love to compete and I love the sport.
WSHL 365: What appealed to you about coaching the Icemen after all you accomplished while you played professionally including making the All-CHL team, All-ECHL First Team, and winning the ECHL MVP?
Mickey Lang: Several factors came into play, the first being that Reno is my hometown about hour away from Lake Tahoe. I’ve always wanted to move back but I didn’t think there would ever be a chance to live here and still be involved in hockey. I knew it would be a great opportunity and also knew it was a great challenge and something that I wanted to be a part of. After speaking to the owner Van Oleson, I knew he was committed to making Tahoe a great hockey town and also his desire to making the Icemen a successful program.
WSHL 365: What have you taken from your professional playing days and applied in the WSHL?
Mickey Lang: Everything. I had some great coaches that I learned so much from, I played alongside great players, including guys that have played in the NHL. I have a great understanding of what it takes to play Junior, College and Professional hockey. It takes a lot of hard work to play at each level, many sacrifices and it has given me great admiration for what it takes and a great appreciation for what some athletes are willing to endure to achieve the goals.
WSHL 365: In the short time since the season has started you’re 3-6-0-0, but how do you feel the team is coming along and what things, if any do you think the team could work on?
Mickey Lang: The team is coming along great, I don’t think we have even scratched the surface of what we’re capable of accomplishing this season together. We need to work on everything, d-zone, neutral zone, o-zone, face-offs, special teams, along with other little aspects of the game. As an athlete, I believe that as soon as you get content you’re done; the same applies for being discouraged, those two things have the capability to end a team, an athlete and an organization.
WSHL 365: What were the preparations for you coming in this season scouting wise, staff wise, other?
Mickey Lang: Work together with everyone on the staff. Find the best people for the job along with the most passionate people. Find the most energized people that want to make this program a success. Scouting wise, I wanted to find the talent that is driven by most skilled players, the hungriest players, and the players that have been cut from others teams. Players that other organizations didn’t believe in, but I know are driven to give it all they have and the desire to be here and succeed. If there were any players that didn’t want to be a part of this program then we didn’t want them either.
WSHL 365: How has Ivan Radetskyi’s play helped to motivate the team? How did you manage to recruit and land Ivan during the off-season?
Mickey Lang: I was looking for players late one night and I saw Ivan Radetskyi from Kiev, Ukraine hadn’t signed with a team yet, I called my former teammate and one of my best buddies Artem Gumenyuk, who I played 4 years of college hockey with who happened to be from the same city in Ukraine as Ivan and told him how bad I wanted Ivan here and we were able to make it happen. I’ve seen a lot of great hockey players and Ivan has turned out to be everything I thought he’d be and more. We have several really good hockey players on our team, but there’s no doubt Ivan is a special player. He most certainly motivates me everyday, having an opportunity to coach such a gifted player is a blessing. I have a strong belief that he is the best player in the league and we are very fortunate to have him. The best attribute about Ivan, is he is a better person than he is hockey player.
INTERVIEW BY DEREK HARPER