ECHL: Exclusive Interview with Swamp Rabbits Head Coach Andrew Lord

Greenville, SC—Recently, I got the opportunity to sit down with Swamp Rabbits Head Coach Andrew Lord.

I asked Coach Lord what he thought of the recent game performance against Atlanta on Wednesday (Dec. 13).

“I thought we were solid. You know we didn’t give up too much defensively, which is great. I liked our start, obviously – a goal 12 seconds in any chance, anytime you can. Special teams are good. You know the third-period power-play goal was important to give us some breathing room again, and you know the PK, we didn’t give anything up; probably could have been better in some areas, but not giving one up was great. So, yeah, take it – they’re a very good team, it’s a top division, so you take a win anytime you can.”

Additionally, I followed up with his thoughts on the new record of 18-5-0

“It’s good, it’s a good start. It would help us kind of get off to a good start just being a little further ahead knowing each other; you don’t know when the game plan will change, and I think that’s been a positive so far. Knock on wood injury-wise, we’ve been pretty good as well; I think we’ve had some really good depth. I think, when we had the injuries or call-ups, guys have stepped in and done a heck of a job, so it’s good – It’s a really good start. That being said, it is only a start; we’re a long way away; there’s 72 games.”

I asked what it’s like to coach for the Swamp Rabbits for four straight seasons.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. The COVID year, we had a heck of a team; we unfortunately lost in the Conference Finals; we were a little bit older, we had a few experienced players. Then the league was certainly souped up with half the teams playing, and it was very, very competitive. I thought that was a very great start for the new ownership, new organization, and us as a staff. Second year was good as well—got off to a terrible start – we actually lost ten games in a row – and then an awesome rebound to make it into the playoffs. And I think we definitely made some strides growing as a group that year ago. And then last year was solid, as well; it’s just unfortunate to get knocked out in the first round, which was disappointing. And then, I say right now is probably the most complete we’ve been organizationally; I think we’ve grown as a group on and off the ice. I think our team, with how many returning guys we have, It’s just really well run; turning into a really running machine, and it’s really exciting right now.”

I asked him what he likes about the LA Kings and Ontario Reign affiliation, as this marks the 2nd season of the conjoined organizations.

“It’s an amazing thing. We’re really fortunate, to be honest – the Kings’ – all three teams are doing really well which is which is fun right now, but they do everything first-class; they’re not only great on the performance on the ice but just how they treat their players, their staff — the professionalism; and we see that when I get to go to NHL camp, and some of our staff does as well, the communication on a daily basis, they genuinely care about our level. Some of the players they send down here for development, they’re all great, they’re great people, they respect this league; they come in and they work really hard. So, from a cultural standpoint, it’s awesome. And then just learning from them, they really help us and support us any way they can to just develop on a day-to-day basis; so we’re extremely fortunate to have it, and I think at the same time, I think we provide a real service in the development piece being a bit of an extension of them – a little bit of a pipeline down here where they can put some players and just bolster their numbers and have had some depth to the whole thing.”

I asked Coach Lord what his thoughts are on the recent goaltending of Ryan Bednard and Jacob Ingham, both of whom are contracted with the Ontario Reign.

“Yeah, I mean, the goalies are awesome; they’re a real backbone of our team right now. You know, we’ve had Bedzy for a number of years now, and just being or in another American League deal with an organization is so fantastic, and I think through the coaching and the extra time they’re putting in his games, he developed even more, even though he is somewhat of a veteran goalie in this league. And he’s just so steady and calm, and he’s been off to an amazing start. I’m really proud of him. And then Iggy’s battle with the injury; he’s also been here for a couple years, and coming off the entry-level American League deal is great to see and him still with the organization and really playing his best hockey that he’s played. He’s healthy right now, knock on wood, another great guy – works really hard – I think he’s matured so much, and you know this game certainly has to, so I think the best is yet to come for both those guys, and we’re fortunate to have them here.”

Jake Farmer

I'm a photographer and writer covering the ECHL Greenville Swamp Rabbits based in Greenville, South Carolina. Twitter and Instagram: JakeCF.Hockey

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