Former teammates bringing winning ways to Bridgeport

by Andy Hutchison || AHL On The Beat Archive

It’s a hockey reunion of sorts behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ bench this season. Head coach Dan Marshall and assistant Joe Ferras, both of whom are new to the organization, were teammates at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh two decades ago.

They won the NCAA Division III championship with Plattsburgh in 1987 and now strive to lead the New York Islanders’ top affiliate to a successful playoff run at another level in their first season of coaching in the American Hockey League.

Ferras recalls Marshall, a defenseman at Plattsburgh, throwing his body onto the ice to block shots late in close games, and taking a hit for the benefit of the team during their four successful years together in college hockey, which included trips to the D-III Final Four each season.

“That’s the way Danny always was as a player. Whatever it takes to win – those are the guys you want to go to battle with,” Ferras said.

Marshall’s do-what-it-takes-to-win mentality is one of the many reasons these coaches are excited about the potential for a successful season – the Sound Tigers’ sixth – in the Park City. Each of these coaches brings his own niche to the bench.

Ferras had his uniform number 77 retired at Plattsburgh and is the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“Joey has a certain feel for the game,” Marshall said . “I know what he can do. Joe understands what it’s like, as a player and a coach, to play on a power play at the pro level. That will speak volumes to the players.”

“We both have a great passion for the game – it’s the only thing we’ve ever known,” said Ferras, alluding to the fact both men have earned their living through hockey since their days at Plattsburgh.

The former teammates went their separate ways after college – both played and coached professionally in other leagues – but have been in touch and, in fact, have worked together throughout the years.

Although their new roles with the Sound Tigers marks the first time they will be on the same bench since their Plattsburgh days, they have coached together in recent years. Marshall and Ferras have run summer developmental prospect camps together for 10 years.

“We’ve stayed in contact all these years. We have the utmost respect for each other,” Ferras said. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to work for Dan.