Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bruins board expects to decide on coach tonight

Estevan Mercury

If all goes according to plan, one of three men will be chosen as the 26th head coach in Estevan Bruins history tonight.

Executive members indicated that the group was leaning toward one of the three remaining candidates and did not anticipate any hurdles preventing a decision from being made at tonight's meeting.

"I don't see anything that would hold it back," said Bruins president Jeff Pierson on Monday.

While the three finalists have not been revealed, perhaps just as notable are the names not on the shortlist.
Veteran SJHL coaches Darrell Mann, Larry Wintoneak and Ed Zawatsky all applied for the position, but Pierson said the Bruins aren't looking for an old-school taskmaster, a label that can be applied to all three.

"We have to feel comfortable that they have the ability to work with a younger team and not come in and expect to have a ready-built team," said Pierson. "I have a lot of confidence in the team we're going to build next year, but they're going to have some growing pains along the way and they've got to have someone to lead them.

"All three of them represent, by their past, an ability to work with a younger team and build a team through the system," the president added.

"They have to be able to take that younger team and show them the way, and in a year or two, make that younger team an elite hockey team in this league."

Mann was recently relieved of his duties with the Melfort Mustangs after failing to get that team over the hump during the past few years.

Wintoneak's most recent gig was with the Kindersley Klippers, where he was let go in December after the team underachieved in the first half of the season.

Zawatsky had been the long-time bench boss of the Yorkton Terriers before being fired with eight games left in the 2009-10 season, opening the door for Trent Cassan to lead the club to back-to-back Credit Union Cup finals.

Pierson said the three remaining candidates each have "considerable experience" and while their résumes vary, they have all worked with junior players in the past.

The executive is aware of the Bruins' reputation for underachieving in recent years, particularly in 2010-11 when the club was expected to contend, and Pierson said the new man will be tasked with squeezing as much as possible out of a raw squad.

"Knowing that we are going to be a bit younger, we still expect to be a very competitive hockey team and that (will be) his job. Of the candidates we have remaining, I feel that we could pick any of them and be able to move this hockey club in the right direction and that's reassuring.

"We owe it to the community to have an overachieving club, or at the very least to meet expectations."

After the decision is made, the hope is to have the new coach in Estevan by May 1 in order to familiarize him with the team's protected list and get a jump on recruiting.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld