GLENS FALLS -- Area hockey fans weren’t the only ones surprised by the dismissal of Adirondack Phantoms coach Joe Paterson on Tuesday.
Paterson told The Post-Star in a phone interview Wednesday that he had a contract for the coming season and expected to be back behind the bench.
“No, I didn’t (see it coming.) I was a little bit in shock at first,” Paterson said.
In a statement Tuesday, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said the Phantoms needed “a new voice” and “a new direction.”
Paterson elaborated slightly when asked if the Flyers had given him a further explanation.
“We never made the playoffs, so that’s, I guess, unfortunate,” Paterson said. “I’m not really totally sure, but I think that’s a big factor.”
The Phantoms faced far more injuries and call-ups than they did in their previous two seasons in Glens Falls. Paterson didn’t want to blame that for missing the postseason.
“You can’t look back at things like that. I always believe that’s an opportunity for other players to step in and do other things and that’s not for me to really analyze that part of it,” Paterson said. “Injuries come with the territory.”
While the Phantoms fell five points short of the playoffs, the Flyers made it to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Throughout their season, they were helped by call-ups like Eric Wellwood, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Kevin Marshall, Erik Gustafsson and Harry Zolnierczyk.
“I think that’s always part of the job is to make sure players are ready to go up when they’re called upon, and I think when you look at the depth we’ve gone through ... that the Flyers now have a lot more prospects that are going to be NHL players or have an opportunity to play and go up there and fill different roles,” Paterson said. “It’s rewarding to help be a part of that.”
Paterson, who was a scout with the Atlanta Thrashers before being tabbed as the Phantoms coach on Dec. 20, 2010, said he hasn’t yet thought about his next job.
“I really appreciate being able to coach here and have the opportunity to get the team back on track,” Paterson said. “I just wish it had been for a longer period of time.”