NORFOLK, Va. - As the head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, Rod Taylor is used to spending a majority of his time at the hockey rink, but that was put to a hault when Norfolk's latest season was canceled due to the pandemic.
With the newfound free time, Taylor shifted from carving up the ice to carving up wood instead.
"Woodworking, that's kinda what I've been doing," said Taylor, who enters his second season as Admirals head coach during the 2021-22 season. "Doing things around the house just the same as everyone else."
While he adds woodworking to the list of things he does around house like everyone else, it's safe to say the woodworking part probably doesn't fall into that category for most people.
At Taylor's house you'll find lumber that he's milled and prepped for various projects, which you'll also find on display in his home.
"I make tables, things like that, I'm milling a piece of wood, making some box joint cuts, making some bird feeders," Taylor said. "Those things are a little bit different, but I've always enjoyed doing that."
While the pandemic has given Taylor time to enjoy woodworking, the sport he enjoys has remained at the forefront during the Admirals' hiatus.
In addition to helping out with the local junior hockey program, he's taken advantage of the opportunity to hone his coaching style while away from the ice.
"Trying to learn for myself self, trying to be better, to be a better coach and things like that," Taylor said. "Those are things that have been going through my mind this entire time, thinking about what things I would have done differently and enhance them, find out what these players are doing and see how they respond, what they didn't respond with and then tweaking these things."
This week we moved one step closer toward Taylor implementing his revamped coaching approach, because the Admirals released their new schedule, and like the lumber in Taylor's backyard, it's stacked with 72 games making up the upcoming season."
"It's been quiet the last year," Admirals general manager Ryan McGinnis said. "With this thing now being released and restrictions being lifted I'm so excited."
"Getting the fans and filling this arena back up with them being excited to come and watch a product on the ice that, to be better and better, is what we're trying to do," said Taylor, who was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009. "I think it's gonna be fun to be able to do that."
With a plan carved out for the upcoming season, the return of professional hockey in the 757 means no more milling around with uncertainty.