After two years as head coach of the Blues’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, Bannister was set to educate the Blues’ new affiliate — the Springfield (Mass.) Thunderbirds.
Bannister has but to make it to Springfield. On Jan. 4, the day after the Blues reported to coaching camp, Springfield introduced it was opting out of the season for COVID-related causes. The Blues labored out an association with Utica, the place Trent Cull was starting his fourth season as head coach.
Bannister turned the affiliate head coach.
“Working underneath Trent this yr was a terrific expertise for me,” Bannister stated. “I realized some issues on how he would run issues, and what I appreciated, and perhaps modifications that I’d make. Completely different concepts.
“It offers you a unique perspective within the sport, and the way you’re coping with gamers. I appreciated this yr in that reality for myself.”
Bannister didn’t retire as a participant till 2012. So for somebody nonetheless comparatively new to the teaching sport, significantly on the professional degree, it was a useful studying expertise to observe Cull run the present in Utica.
Bannister nonetheless ran, by his estimation, about 40 % of every apply. He ran the facility play and the pre-scout video. However Cull was nonetheless the pinnacle coach.
Backside line, although, Bannister’s job is to develop prospects into future Blues. And for these younger males, this was a attempting season — in contrast to some other.