Langdon ends playing career, picks up reins of Royals

Chris Quigley
Published on September 5, 2014
Corner Brook Royals coach Darren Langdon shouts instructions during the team's open tryout at the Kinsmen Arena II on Thursday night, which was attended by 17 hopefuls. — Star photo by Chris Quigley

A competitive hockey player for over two decades, Darren Langdon has decided his time is up.

His professional career began with stints with the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Rangers and ECHL’s Dayton Bombers, but the majority of the past decade has seen the former National Hockey League enforcer take on a more offensive role in provincial senior hockey league circles.

“Everyone is faster, they’re all stronger,” he said.

“It’s too hard on the body when you’re 43.”

Now he will assume head coaching duties with the Corner Brook Royals for the upcoming season.

Last season’s bench boss, Steve North, is moving to Kamloops, B.C. for work-related reasons, so Royals president Ross Coates was quick to offer the gig to Langdon once it became clear the ex-pro wasn’t interested in playing this year.

Langdon officially agreed to accept the role on Wednesday night.

Like any athlete, the choice to step away was a tough one for Langdon, but he’s “99 per cent” confident his decision is final.

A season marred by injuries last year, a rarity for the Deer Lake native, made it easier to come to terms with.

It’s no secret it takes longer to heal at a certain age.

“Every bump and bruise hurts more,” he said.

Langdon tried his hand at coaching during the NHL’s 2004-05 lockout.

Once the season was wiped out entirely, he decided to lace up the skates, while still holding a position of power behind the bench.

The team won the Herder Memorial Trophy that season.

Being able to focus strictly on coaching, without the distraction of being on the ice is something he’s looking forward to and said it will likely make the job easier in the long run.

As he points out, it’s easier to tell someone about a mistake they made when he’s not out there making the same mistake on the next shift.

“It’s hard to tell someone off when you’re doing the same thing out there,” he said.

“Better to stay behind the bench and not make mistakes.”

The system he plans to implement will ultimately depend on the players that fill out the roster, but it will revolve around defence and hard work.

According to Langdon, every coach he’s ever had in his long career have basically stressed the same thing.

“If you keep it simple, good things will happen most of the time.”