Utah Grizzlies become Anaheim affiliate, new coach promises high-pressure attack
West Valley City • Tim Branham has been in Utah for only a few days, but the new coach and general manager of the Utah Grizzlies already has brought his own youthful fast-break style to the job.
Branham, 32, former assistant for the ECHL champion Reading Royals, reached an affiliation agreement with the NHL Anaheim Ducks. Now he's eyeing the recruiting trail.
"This is going to be a new era," the first-year coach said during his introduction Wednesday at the Maverik Center. "I'm glad to be part of it.
"I still need to find a place to live."
For the first time in Utah's nine years in the ECHL, it hired a coach from outside its organization. Branham's association with those within the Ducks organization led the to affiliation, which is a year-to-year agreement.
Utah's previous agreement was with Calgary.
"We wanted a place where players would come and enjoy being developed," said Bob Ferguson, assistant general manager of Anaheim's AHL affiliate Norfolk as well as the director of the Ducks' minor league operation. "Secondly, we wanted a coach we could trust. I've coached [Branham], I know what he's all about."
Grizzlies fans can expect the Ducks to send a handful of prospects to Utah, at least one at every position. Utah also will be used to create depth for Norfolk.
Branham, who spent four seasons at Reading, promised a high-power style of play. He replaced Kevin Colley, who resigned after five seasons as Utah's coach.
"Fast-paced, puck pressure, in your face," Branham said. "On and off the ice. Character players. Those are the players who get the job done come playoff time."
The Grizzlies finished fourth in the Mountain Division of the Western Conference last season, compiling a 29-30-4-9 record.