Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back at it...

Well the holiday was way too short. (isn't it always?) The week plus off was nice but it's back to work now and there were a few things happening while I was away.

The Nipawin Hawks have announced the hiring of 31-year-old Edmonton AB native Colin O’Hara as their new Head Coach/General Manager.

O’Hara has spent time as an Assistant Coach with the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) and was an Assistant Coach/Assistant General Manager with the Quesnel Millionaires. He was also Director of Hockey Development for Quesnel Minor Hockey Association, and had a previous Assistant Head Coach stint with the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

O’Hara’s playing career includes a 20-year-old stint with the Battlefords North Stars. The former defenseman had 26-points in 49-games during the 1997-98 season and he was also a member of the gold medal winning SJHL Viking Cup team. He also led the Stars in playoff scoring in his only year. O’Hara also played in the WHL with Swift Current and Medicine Hat.

Hawks President Blaine Clarke has extended a warm welcome, on behalf of the hockey club and the community, to Colin and his wife Erin as well as their three daughters.

The O’Hara’s have lived in Vernon BC during the offseason for the last four years, however they intend to call Nipawin their new full-time home.

For more with O’Hara, please visit and look for the Behind The Bench audio section.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has named Tracy Cook as the new Director of Officials.

Cook takes over for Doug Lawrence, who resigned last month after serving in the capacity for the past four seasons.

Cook, who makes his home in North Battleford as a full-time Business Manager at a local auto dealership, has been married for the last 18 years and, with his wife, is in the midst of raising two teenaged children.

Cook began officiating as a referee in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in 1996, hanging up the blades for good following the 2005-06 season. Since that time, Cook has been one of the SJHL’s Supervisor of Officials. That position has allowed Cook to watch games from the press box and work with referees and linesmen in a mentoring capacity to help improve their skills.

"I really look forward to working with the officials and I, personally, have found it rewarding over the last couple of seasons to see the young referees and linesmen improve their craft. Seeing them get better as professionals is very exciting," said Cook. "It is a lot like coaching, only you work with officials as opposed to players."The ever changing state of the game of hockey is something Cook feels he and his team will need to remain on top of. "I think with the two-referee system that a number of leagues have started to move toward has a trickle down effect and it impacts the SJHL for sure. But, I think we also have to make sure we can continue to bridge the understanding be tween officials and hockey teams for what the mandate is for each area. For a referee, the most important issues are safety, fairness, and thus allowing teams to compete. For teams, those priorities are often in reverse order."

"The leadership in the SJHL has been outstanding in the area of officials over the last number of years. To continue that is going to be a challenge. Great leadership and outstanding officials are long traditions here (in Saskatchewan). I hope to continue that," added Cook.

More to come later in the day as I get caught up.

No comments: