WATERTOWN — Watertown Wolves fans will be happy to know that Tyler Gjurich will be around this upcoming season.
Gjurich will be a player and assistant coach for the 2019-20 season after an announcement was made Monday. He will help out a yet-to-be-named head coach that will be in place for the start of the upcoming season. The 27-year-old forward said adding coaching to his duties made sense because he wants to be a full-time coach once he wraps up his playing career.
“(Coaching) is always something I’ve wanted to do,” Gjurich said. “It’s my fifth year and I want to know how to coach so I can run the team.”
The Hatfield, Pa., native has scored more than 50 goals to win the Federal Hockey League’s scoring title in both seasons with the Wolves, including a 56-goal campaign in the 2017-18 season, when Watertown won its second Commissioner’s Cup. He’s excited that a good chunk of that title-winning group is coming back for the upcoming season.
“We still have our core of guys from the last two or three years and that’s what makes it fun,” Gjurich said.
He’ll also help along the crop of younger players that will fill out the roster. The league will be known as the Federal Hockey Prospects League with an aim to get players, coaches and front office personnel into higher leagues.
“Having someone of Tyler’s experience and success being more involved with the coaching side while still involved on the ice as a leader, will be invaluable to the organization and our fans,” the team said in a press release.
The league has also grown to 10 teams after the addition of the Columbus River Dragons, Danbury Hat Tricks, Delaware Thunder and a yet-to-be-named team based in Michigan.
“I like how there’s two divisions and we’ve got places like Columbus (Ga.) and Carolina to play at,” Gjurich said.
Gjurich has also felt welcome by the community as they’ve shown significant support for the team in the last couple of years. It was evident on Tuesday as plenty of fans filled the patio of Tully’s Good Times Restaurant in Watertown to renew or get season-ticket packages.
“This town loves the Wolves just by the things you see on social media and events like this,” Gjurich said.
The Wolves host the Mentor Ice Breakers to start the season on Oct. 25 at the Watertown Municipal Arena.