New Idaho Steelheads coach Brad Ralph aims high.
Boise Hawks fans saw that Saturday night when Ralph sailed the ceremonial opening pitch over the head of catcher Lance Rymel.
Later, Ralph talked about his high expectations as he becomes the ECHL teams sixth coach in the history of the franchise.
Nothing less than a championship is what our goal is, Ralph said.
Ralph spent the past two seasons coaching the Augusta RiverHawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League, where he compiled a 71-33-8 record.
The move to Boise is a step up for Ralph.
In terms of talent level, I do think that the players will be a little bigger, a little stronger, said Ralph, who at age 31 is the youngest coach in the Steelheads history.
One part of Ralphs job wont change: Hell try to develop young players and give them the chance to succeed.
What I did in Augusta, that was kind of how we had so much success, was moving players up, Ralph said. Players wanted to come to Augusta because they knew I was going to promote them and develop them to get to the next level. Im ready for that.
Ralph flew into Boise on Friday night, and the Steelheads planned to keep him busy for the few days he is here for his first visit. After his appearance on the Hawks mound, he did interviews and appeared on the Hawks broadcast. He has more radio and TV appearances on the agenda before he flies out of town Tuesday, but he hoped to spend a little time looking for a new house for his wife, Wendy, and their 4-year-old daughter.
Its a little overwhelming trying to move to a new city in a weekend, Ralph said. But were excited to get started.