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THOUGHTS ON THE ICE DOGS CLEANING HOUSE
Well, better late to the party than never I suppose. It is old news now, but I really wanted to take a little time to think about what I was going to write about the blowing up of the Ice Dogs coaching staff and front office. Lets get one thing clear. Coaches McCourt and Ladoecoeur and GM Brown all had expiring contracts so it was well within the rights of Bill and Denise Burke to terminate those contracts. That said, the decision remains a curious one at at a time when stability should be one of the things that a relatively new franchise is striving for. Plus, the second half success that the team enjoyed leads this columnist to believe that all three deserved to serve as the faces and mentors of the franchise for at least a year. Professionally and personally I enjoyed interacting with all three men. From a media perspective they were relatively accessible and articulate. From personal standpoint, Dave Brown's passion for his team was evident. Mike McCourt, while a little more reserved, was a student of the game and a good X's and O's coach. Randy Ladoecoeur had a great sense of humour and his long-standing reputation as a stay at home NHL defensemen helped the young Ice Dog corps. It should not be lost that the perennially upbeat assistant Frank Girhiny has also left his position to return to the midget ranks.
I've learned in my years of covering junior hockey and university sport that the tenure of a coach or an executive can be short-lived, fairly or unfairly. The next two years of Ice Dogs hockey should be very good ones and I firmly believe Dave Brown's assertion that this team can hit the 40 win plateau. My broadcast partner Ed Burkholder feels that this year's Ice Dog team has the talent level and feel of year one when the likes of Swift, Caputi, Legien and Pietrangelo were household names. Whomever gets the Ice Dogs coaching/gm vacancies should have high expectations.
We know the names that have been floated out there. During times like these everyone who holds a clipboard, is unemployed or who wants to improve their situation has polished off the old resume. However, you can't ignore two of the names that have been floated about. Please allow me to play Six Degrees of Separation, and remember, I have no inside insight as to what is going to happen.
Both Marty Williamson and Jerome Dupont's names have reached the internet, and it likely is no coincidence. Both gentlemen coached the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL while the Burke's son Billy played for the Newmarket Hurricanes and the Barrie Colts and attended St. Andrews College in Aurora. Plus, Bill Burke was spotted in Barrie wearing a Colts jersey during the playoffs, which upon hindsight likely was not the smartest decision he could have made. The connections are there, but mere convenience of geography should not make one leap to hasty conclusions.
What I do know is that it will be one fun spring/summer of speculation once the new hires are made.
--So Darren Archibald ran Philip Grubauer in Game Three and was rightly punished for a reckless act. Barrie drafted Warren Rychal's son Kerby Rychel when everyone in the free world knew that Windsor wanted to take him. Bob Boughner refuses to shake Marty Williamson's hand after the Windsor sweep. Really? Really? Windsor: Pot meet Kettle. I hardily think that Windsor are the angels in this situation. Zack Kassian and Adam Wallace did do a pretty nice double team job on Matt Kennedy at the tail end of game three and no one will confuse the likes of Harry Young, Dale Mitchell and Mark Cundari with future Lady Bing candidates.
--Congratulations do go to the Spits for doing the single most toughest thing in team sport and that is to repeat as league champions. With eight wins in a row over tough opposition I bet Windsor wished the Memorial Cup started earlier than this Friday
--Read that the the video game NHL 2011 may include OHL/CHL teams. This will be great news for Al and Ed who like to play Ice Dogs vs. Majors in Pong on Al's old Atari system
--We had a very successful draft show on May 1st and interviewed a number of Ice Dogs prospects. I must be getting older because looking at Tyler Graham, I was sure that the Ice Dogs had drafted a 10 year old.
--Hockey's policy of "upper and lower body injuries" make me chuckle, particularly when I see Lebron James talking freely about his injured elbow with no attempts to hide it
-- Congrats to Mississauga on their successful Memorial Cup bid. Coincidentally did I see an ad for "seat fillers" who need to be available for the middle of May 2011?
--You are not supposed to play favourites as a broadcaster, but I can't help root for PK Subban who is playing an increasingly important role for Montreal in the playoffs, and is fast becoming a fan favourite
I'll check in when the Ice Dogs make their new hire
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