Imagine working for the same company for 18 years. In a day where it is not too common for a person to stay in one place, Aaron Schneekloth has stuck with one organization for nearly 20 years in many roles. First as a defenseman for the Colorado Eagles, then as of Thursday officially their head coach once again. After playing for the Eagles for seven years, he retired and joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach. Schneekloth coached and led them to two Kelly Cup championships before they joined the American Hockey League. Greg Cronin kept Schneekloth on the staff as an assistant coach, and now he has taken the helm as head coach once again.
Schneekloth learned from Cronin in the five years while under his watch.
“Don’t be afraid to coach the player,” Schneekloth said. “There’s always going to be difficult opportunities where you need to be a harder coach and demand more of a player, and honesty is always the best policy and in those situations and I learned a lot from Greg in that department while he was here.”
This was the parting advice that Cronin had for his apprentice. Chris MacFarland, the general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, extolled Schneekloth’s promotion. MacFarland said of Schneekloth, “He has earned this,” and “the more we chatted, all roads just kept leading back to Aaron.”
Schneekloth has earned it.
Martin Lind, the Eagles’ owner, mentioned, “I can’t think of one person who has gone from player, to coach to head coach, to coach and then head coach. All without having to move from the same city.”
Lind was saying this as he fought away tears of his own, looking at Schneekloth’s wife, Kristie, who had turned on the waterworks long before that. A sense of community and family was strong with this promotion. Because you never see someone stick with an organization for so long.
Lind gave the promise that “We are going to win,” with a blushing Schneekloth beside him. They have set the bar high already, because of the history. Schneekloth will now work with the forwards, supported by the Avalanche and Eagles. He will have more talented players this time around, players who are faster and more skilled, especially as the Avalanche build their prospect pool back up after winning a Stanley Cup in 2022.