The Kingston Frontenacs announced on Tuesday that they have named Paul McFarland as their ninth general manager in club history. McFarland, who also is the newly-minted head coach, recently served as an assistant for the Toronto Maple Leafs this past season.
Coaching is nothing new for McFarland, as he has served in various roles since he first started as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals back in 2012-13. After working for two seasons with the Gens, he was named the head coach of the Frontenacs in 2014-15.
In the three seasons that he served with the Frontenacs, he managed to put together a record of 111-71-22 which included a franchise-best record of 46-17-5 in 2015-16. His success attracted many NHL teams and he decided to join the Florida Panthers as an assistant coach before the start of the 2017-18 season.
Fast forward to today, he has found himself back in Kingston having recently been named as both head coach and general manager after having served under Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe this past season. When asked what he learned with the Leafs, McFarland replied, “I think what the Leafs do at the National Hockey League level that separates themselves, is their development process and how important development is is to their organization.”
As seen with their development with guys such as Mason Marchment and Adam Brooks, McFarland went on to speak about how he will try to implement the same process with the Frontenacs and their young players. “Obviously, what they’ve done with the Marlies and the skills coaches involved, seeing what they go through with that program over the last year, it will be re-emphasizing the importance of development at the junior level and working with young men at the ages of 15-20.”
Young Team With A Bright Future
The Frontenacs are one of the brighter young teams in the entire Ontario Hockey League (OHL). With guys like Shane Wright, Francisco Arcuri, Zayde Wisdom and Martin Chromiak, McFarland will definitely have some solid players to work with.
When asked if he’s had any contact with his players, McFarland responded, “We had a few different Zoom calls with the entire group and I also spent some time individually with each player via FaceTime to really try and get to know them on a personal level. Since I’ve been hired, I’ve tried to highlight some key fundamentals and also some leadership pieces that are going to be an integral part of the culture that we are going to try and create.”
Throughout this coaching career, McFarland has been known to connect with his players on a personal level. It helps that he’s been in their shoes as he spent four seasons playing in the OHL for the Kitchener Rangers and the Saginaw Spirit. He knows what it takes to get the most out of players and is always willing to tell them what they need to improve on.
Expectations Heading Into His First Season
With the Frontenacs coming off a rough season last year, expectations will most likely not be high for McFarland entering his first season. Although he has future CHL stars in Wright and Chromiak, he will need to find out what system fits the best for this team and implement it into their game on a nightly basis.
Although McFarland doesn’t know what the future holds, he is just excited to be back in Kingston. “Kingston has become a very special place for my family and I,” he said. We enjoyed it the last time we were here and we are all excited to come back and be apart of this community again.”
All in all, the future is bright in Kingston and it will be exciting to see what they are able to accomplish now and in the future.
My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.