Former Mississippi Surge head coach Steffon Walby talks about his future

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  Steffon Walby dedicated the past eleven years to making sure hockey survived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  As a player, coach and administrator with the Mississippi Sea Wolves and the Mississippi Surge, Walby was instrumental in molding a solid hockey foundation.

A phone call  on Thursday morning from Tim Kerr, the new owner of the Surge, turned his life upset down.  Walby was fired and no official reason was given.  Walby said Kerr was going to call him back.

Walby told WLOX Sports Director A.J. Giardina, he has yet to here from Kerr.

"No no, he still hasn't contacted me and for whatever reason he's not. You know it'll be a mystery for everybody until the time he wants to give reasons why. Now that I think about it it's not really stopping me. Mentally, like I said, we're moving on. And I wish all the Surge fans good luck. I wish all the players that choose to comeback, good luck. And certainly what I started has been finished at least my chapter and it'll move on."

Walby was in Hershey, Pennsylvania helping with a hockey camp when he received the phone call from Kerr on Thursday.  Walby says he's still in shock and he's now in a rebuilding process.  He has a wife and children to think about and admits losing his job has been difficult to swallow.

"It's always going to be tough when you've started to put roots and started my 12th year here. You know that's a lot of time to be in one place for a hockey player. But if we don't leave I've received a number of emails, phone calls, messages, Facebook messages, all that good stuff, on suggestions on what I could do, to be successful. I think I could blend in and continue on even though hockey is in my blood.  It's not out of my system."

Walby says he's grown up as a person following the rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina.

"It has always been a battle. It has always been tough to find the season ticket holders or find sponsors with the hockey club, but the one thing that's been great is the education that I've learned and also what the people of the Gulf Coast have taught me. The biggest thing is perseverance. And this is a bump just like Katrina was a bump, but this is a bump that my family and I and the friends in this community will help me overcome."

He says hockey is a great game, a game that he's been a part of since he was three-years-old. He's experienced highs and lows and this is a low.

"I think the biggest positive is the people that I've come in contact with. The education like what I was talking about before. I didn't think that the South was all that everybody told me about but hospitality here is second to none."

So what will Walby miss the most?

"The biggest thing that I'll miss is standing on the bench or sitting on the ice, looking around, looking at all these kids, all these parents that bring their children and know that I won't be able to perform for them or won't be able to give them something to talk about the next day."

There is a hockey opening in the SPHL and one in the AHL, but he hasn't made official contact with those hockey organizations.

"The next time that I go into the Coliseum for a hockey event I might be on the opposing side or it might just be a fan, but at the same time it's given me a great opportunity to meet a ton of people that are here on the coast."

Walby knows the hockey season is fast approaching and he'll need to make some quick contacts to stay in the game.  He said he hasn't ruled out doing something else and might decide to remain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a place he calls home.

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