The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed head coach Rod Brind'Amour on Thursday, and while the new contract covers the next three years, it feels more like another renewal of a lifelong pact between a Hurricane and his hockey community.
"I've been here forever," Brind'Amour said during a Hockey Central appearance Friday, one day after also being named winner of the Jack Adams Award as 2020-21's NHL coach of the year. "This is my home."
Between his decade playing for the Hurricanes (including captaining the club to the Stanley Cup in 2006) and another 10 years spent in player development, as an assistant coach and later head coach, Brind'Amour is deeply woven into the fabric of Hurricanes hockey -- so much so that moving on simply wasn't an option for him.
"I had a hard time even thinking of going somewhere else. So that really wasn't, I don't think, an option," he said Friday. "Obviously we hear the rumblings like everyone else -- there's a lot of teams out there that were looking for coaches. But for me, it was never really a consideration.
"I think I'll try to stay here as long as I can. When my time's done coaching, I would imagine I'll be done with it," he continued. "So, we'll see. But I'm happy that I'm gonna be here for next year and we'll focus on that."
Throughout the season, when asked about his negotiations to stay on as head coach, Brind'Amour consistently spoke of his love for Carolina and his desire to stay put. That was the main takeaway from Friday's interview and Thursday's official press conference, too, from both Brind'Amour and general manager Don Waddell.
Asked during Thursday's media availability whether a management-type role with the club beyond coaching would be a possibility in the future to continue the relationship between Brind'Amour and the franchise, Waddell indicated a solid future would likely be in store:
"I think Rod has summed it up: he's a Hurricane. And if that day ever comes when he decides he doesn't want to be behind the bench, I'm sure -- as we've done with Willie here recently -- there might be those next opportunities," Waddell told reporters.
Carolina's former captain and recently retired Justin Williams was brought back into the fold in February as special advisor to the GM.
"Rod has stated very clearly that he wants to be a Hurricane, so one way or another I'm assuming that it'll all work out for not only today but for the future," said Waddell.
"I don't know how long I'm gonna wanna coach -- it is a grind. But when you have the players that I have here, they make you want to come back.
"Do I want to eventually get out of it and get on the other side of it, sitting with Don and actually not have to grind it out every day and do what he's doing, help him?" he added, with a little ribbing towards his GM. "Maybe. But right now the focus is, 'Okay, I'm back in the seat here and we've got to get better.'"