Kim Dillabaugh was like a good mechanic.
If the Kelowna Rockets had a goaltending problem, he was there to fix it.
Over 11 seasons, Dillabaugh quietly went about his way.
The soft spoken Duncan, BC resident wouldn't overhaul what a goalie prospect brought to camp, but like a good technician (they are called technicians not mechanics right?), he tweaked in an effort to make them better.
Dillabaugh first worked with Kelly Guard in 2002-2003. Guard is a Memorial Cup champion. 'Dilly', as he is known around the Rockets dressing room, also worked closely with Derek Yeomans, Kristofer Westblom, Torrie Jung, Adam Brown and most recently CHL Goaltender of the Year Jordon Cooke to name a few.
Dillabaugh made those players better. He made the rest of the coaching staff better.
He listened to the goalies. He worked as much on the mental side of their game than the physical side. He was always in their corner. I would often speak with 'Dilly' about the teams goaltending, specifically when things weren't going well, which by the way was a rarity. Almost every single time, Dillabaugh defended the player and the position he knows best.
You knew the marriage between Dillabaugh and the Rockets wouldn't last long though. Dillabaugh was having too much success helping LA Kings prospects Jonathon Quick and Martin Jones with their game.
The Kings took notice and finally offered him an expanded role with the NHL team. Had they not, Dillabaugh would have been picked up by another team. He is just that good.
On the surface, many fans won't see the loss of Dillabaugh as significant. Trust me, when it comes to the most important position on the ice - goaltending - the Rockets couldn't have had a better person in place.
It is safe to say the new goaltending coach, whoever he may be, will have massive shoes to fill with the departure of Dillabaugh.
I wish 'Dilly' all the best!
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