It’s very possible Rocky Thompson has coached his last game for the Wolves, but he’s not thinking about that.
Frankly, it would be surprising if he was.
“I don’t think like that,” Thompson said. “I just look at the day in front of me here. There’s nothing really to do, unfortunately. I don’t let myself get wrapped up in other things.”
On March 8, the Wolves beat the Rockford IceHogs 3-2 in what might have been the premature season finale. Later that week, the American Hockey League season was suspended indefinitely because of the corona-
virus. Since then, the Canadian Hockey League and ECHL have canceled the remainder of their campaigns, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the AHL follow suit after announcing it wouldn’t be returning until May while encouraging teams to help players get home.
If the season is over, Thompson’s time with the Wolves will have ended at least a month before it was scheduled to. Thompson is employed by the Golden Knights, and the partnership between Vegas and the Wolves is finished at the conclusion of the season, meaning Thompson is moving on whenever the campaign ends.
The Rockford win, if it was his last game with the Wolves, would give Thompson a 113-71-18-11 mark in Rosemont. Yet Thompson is not thinking like the book has been closed on his Wolves tenure.
“Of course, my family, we have to prepare to move to Vegas, so those are things that we do [think about] for sure,” Thompson said. “But as far as the hockey side, it’s not over in my mind. I won’t allow myself to think that way. That way, I can be best prepared so that if hopefully the season does continue and resume, that we’ll be able to be in the right frame of mind to do the best that we can and to help the Wolves.”
Thompson said he has been keeping busy by poring over analytics data and doing a lot of reading. He said he has talked to all the Wolves players and that they got back to where they needed to go, though they’re “bored, obviously.” The players have been given workouts to do at home so they can stay in shape to be ready if and when the season resumes.
“Everybody’s doing well, which is good,” Thompson said. “On top of that, depending on what happens with the rest of our year, guys being prepared and ready, that if something hopefully were to start up again for us here, that we can be prepared physically to get back at it again.”
As for how that would look, Thompson has thought about how much time teams would be granted to ramp up and how preparations would take place. If teams have a week, Thompson would approach it one way. If there were two, it would be different.
But, again, it’s not like he or anybody else knows what’s coming next.
“Those are kind of things that you think of a little bit to a degree, just to be prepared,” Thompson said. “I really don’t know what the plan would be with return-to-play protocols as far as the league is concerned.”