In the world of coaching, in particular the NHL, it's hard to find individuals who aren't jaded, guarded, into self promotion, or have devolved into judging instead of coaching.
That's why Glen Gulutzan seems so refreshing and easy to like, learn from, and root for.
He's the son of a teacher and minor hockey coach who understandably coaches by teaching.
He has a strong work-ethic but keeps his life balanced.
He seems at the same time appreciative of the opportunity and confident that he's earned it.
Maybe most telling is that Gulutzan is universally respected within the network of players, scouts and coaching peers that he came in contact with during his days in hockey's minor leagues.
He seems to run an intuitive, intelligent system that players find easy to embrace.
He values rest as much as fitness. Perhaps a by-product of his kinesiology degree.
There is no sign of a Jekyll and Hyde personality manifesting in lock-step with wins and losses.
In-game he appears composed, perceptive and a quick study.
The decade of success in the minors has obviously forged a strong belief in his philosophies.
He took diversity studies at college which one would think puts him on the front edge of an ever increasingly diverse player pool.
He briefly played hockey in Scandinavia.
His values are rooted both in a well educated family and the tough, no excuses life of the Western Canadian Prairies.
He seems to value the day to day journey of betterment as opposed to having a myopic concentration on the ultimate objective.
His young family is here with him. That is a good thing. That isn't always the case in the sometimes mercurial world of coaching. And the Gulutzans still have some of the bargain basement furniture that was purchased back when his salary was more about opportunity than zeros and commas.
But above all, his current team is playing like every one of his previous clubs: hard, consistent, structured, and smart. Because of that (and some epic goaltending) they are winning, and when you cut through all the previously mentioned wonderful attributes and accolades, winning is really all that matters at the highest level of professional sports.
Sure nine games is a small sample size, but I have a feeling Glen Gulutzan will be gainfully employed at this level for a very long time.