by Andy Hutchison || AHL On The Beat Archive
Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Dan Marshall draws up game plans and puts them to the test – stick in hand – on ice, during practices.
Throughout the years, Marshall has also spent some of his time writing music and playing his songs, guitar in hand, off the ice.
When it comes to the biggest part of life outside of his family, Marshall is first and foremost a hockey man – but he also has a strong interest in music. Marshall was in a blues rock band for 12 years, and produced three studio CD’s and a live album during his mostly-for-fun acoustic guitar-playing and singing days. Known first as the Dirt Root Band, it was renamed the Dan Marshall Band.
Marshall stopped playing a few years ago to focus more on hockey and family – he’s married with two children and a third is on the way. Marshall didn’t actively pursue a career in music. In fact, he didn’t even start plucking guitar strings until the age of 21.
“I really only picked a guitar up to sing songs around the camp fire and one thing led to another,” Marshall said. With some pointers from a college friend, Marshall taught himself to play the guitar. He went to a few open microphone nights in New York City for fun. It was at those casual open mic performances that he was noticed by studio musicians who invited him to play with them.
Marshall’s hobby developed into the formation of the Dirt Root Band.
“I always had a passion for it, but I only played it when the season was over,” Marshall said. “As soon as hockey season was over I would get into it.”
Marshall was a fan of the Allman Brothers Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival and was inspired by their music when he began writing songs – about people – around the age of 17.
Marshall still occasionally puts down the hockey stick to grab the guitar, but the days of the band have given way to his coaching role with the New York Islanders’ top affiliate, the Sound Tigers. Marshall devotes his offseason and rare off days during the hockey campaign to his family life.
Some great memories of his band days, though, will last for years to come. Marshall’s band got to open at a special concert for a group of musicians from various bands, including the Allman Brothers.
“It was a thrill,” Marshall said.
Marshall spends part of his summer months coaching at the New York Islanders Hockey School. He started the New York Junior Islanders (now the Bobcats) more than a decade ago. Marshall led the program to numerous state and national championships while preparing many young players for NCAA Division I programs.