Late in Teppo Numminen's playing career, the Sabres looked at him as another coach on the ice, a wise veteran who could teach on the fly.
Numminen's career as an actual coach began today when the Sabres started training camp. Coach Lindy Ruff has hired Numminen to be the third assistant on his staff, joining James Patrick and Kevyn Adams.
"It was exciting," Numminen said in Northtown Center following the team's first workouts. "It’s been in the back of my mind. When I was playing when I was young, I said that’s the last thing I want to do is be a coach. My dad was a coach, a [Finnish] national team coach, so as a family I grew up there with all the good times and bad times. That was never my option, then the last 10 years when I was playing I wanted to do something, so coaching was coming up in my thoughts.
"Retiring two years ago and then realizing that I still care about the game and it’s still a passion for myself and I couldn’t get rid of the game, so then just a great opportunity came, and I’m just excited that it worked out."
During games, Numminen will be in the press box with a headset talking to his fellow assistants stationed on the bench.
"He’s going to give us a little bit of a European flair," Ruff said. "He was a consultant at the world championships for the Finns, who won last year. He’s going to be a good addition."