Although Scott Gordon got his first NHL head coaching job with the New York Islanders on August 12, 2008, his connection to hockey goes way back. As a goalie, he was the first player to go from the ECHL to the NHL, in 1989, with the Quebec Nordiques. He played just twenty-one NHL games, all with the Nords, but he enjoyed a fine career in the minors and was also a member of Team USA for the 1992 Olympics.
As a goalie, he was superstitious about dressing before the game to such an extent that he actually had to stop because he was driving himself crazy. “I was pretty particular about getting dressed by segments of time,” he admitted.
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These segments were a slow and deliberate process intended to get him into a rhythm that would continue through sixty minutes of hockey. Exactly half an hour before the game he’d put on some of his equipment; ten minutes later, more equipment. Ten minutes to game time, the final pieces.
Fortunately, he discarded the code by the time he made it to the Nordiques. As he admitted, the superstition “started to rule my life as far as second-guessing myself. Did I remember to do this? Did I remember to do that? By the time I turned pro, I learned that there were too many games to maintain all of those superstitions.”
After retiring in 1994, Gordon immediately went into coaching, starting in the IHL, where, at age thirty, he was among the youngest coaches in league history. He moved to Providence of the AHL, going from assistant coach to head coach, and for several years kept the Bruins among the league’s elite teams.