Trent Vogelhuber reflects on his first year as Cleveland Monsters head coach

“I think of myself as a member of the team- It’s not my team, I’m a member of it.”
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:18 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Trent Vogelhuber isn’t new to being a Cleveland Monster.

The Dublin, Ohio native was the first player from the Columbus area selected by the Blue Jackets in the NHL Draft when the club secured him in the seventh round at 211th overall in the 2007 NHL draft.

Vogelhuber played AHL games with the Springfield Falcons, Lake Erie Monsters, and San Antonio Rampage. He spent four of those seasons in the Blue Jackets organization from 2012-16, and helped the Monsters capture the 2016 Calder Cup championship.

After his six-year playing career, he began his coaching journey. He served as an assistant coach under Cleveland Head Coach John Madden during the 2018-19 campaign before spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach to Eaves.

On June 8, Vogelhuber was named the head coach of the Cleveland Monsters.

It’s a full-circle moment for Vogelhuber. However, there’s a lot of difference between being a player to becoming a coach.

“It’s a lot more,” Vogelhuber said. “A lot more outside hockey, logistics, and managing people in that aspect.”

With the coach not far removed from his playing days, it’s easy for his players to respect and relate to what he brings to the ice on a daily basis.

“He’s very approachable for young guys which I think with our team, we have a lot of young players- It makes the culture a little bit more comfortable for everybody,” center Brendan Gaunce explained. “I think he’s putting his own stamp on it now.”

Defenseman Billy Sweezey doubled down on Vogelhuber being approachable especially since he’s the youngest coach in the American Hockey League.

“He’s been through all of this. He played here,” Sweezey added. He won a championship here.”

Not all the players are young...Defenseman and captain Dillon Simpson is old enough to remember when his coach was actually his teammate.

“He was a player in camp with me and now he’s a coach,” Simpson said. “He isn’t too far removed from being a player so he understands what’s on our plates as players as well, so he is easy to talk to and a great communicator.”

The Monsters are 15-18 on the year and in last place in the North division.

Developing a team identity hasn’t been easy given that 13 players have played for both the Monsters and Blue Jackets this season. However, Vogelhuber is learning his biggest lessons as a coach right now.

“Trust your instinct. Trust your gut,” Vogelhuber explained. “I have been around other coaches that I take from with some things I like and some things I don’t. If you try to mirror someone too much, it can get in the way of your decision-making and what is authentic about you. So, I try to trust my instinct and be myself.”