The Moose Jaw Warriors surprised a lot of people yesterday announcing the firing of Head Coach Steve Young. General Manager Chad Lang felt the team was underachieving, "the last couple weeks we've discussed this - myself and the board (of directors) and it's the toughest decision I've had to make in my GM duties and responsibilities. At the end of the day I think everyone not only in our organization but in the league knows how much respect I have for Steve Young."
Lang continued, "I felt we made moves prior to the deadline that strengthened our hockey club down the stretch and probably didn't get the results that all of us were hoping for. At the end of the day we felt it was a decision with 20 games left it will allow us to spark our guys and battle and allow us to get back into the playoff hunt."
Steve Young was tracked down late yesterday, "today is kind of a pick yourself off the ground type day. But obviously for myself I'm a guy with morals and standards and I will continue to work hard in whatever I have to do. Coaching is my passion and I worked hard and respected being in this league everyday.
He continued, "I was told just before practice, the players went on the ice. I cleaned my stuff up and left the building. I have deep feelings for these players, they are part of my family, I believe in every one of them, they are a team that can get into the playoffs and make that playoff run and no question I will be cheering for those guys."
It still seems there was more to it, Lang had mentioned there were things going on behind the scenes and challenges the a lot of people don't know about.
For the mean time, Rene Lemire takes over as interim Head Coach. "It's very tough, he's the reason I'm here. we battled each other in the SJHL and gave me an opportunity to join the Warriors and I can't thank him enough. He's a nice guy, a great guy and I feel for him."
Lemire says he'll do the best job he can, "It's a tough part of the season where we're battling for a playoff spot and things haven't been working as well as we wanted them to be. I've got a lot of things going through my mind right now because it was so sudden at quarter to two today (Wednesday) and a half hour before practice. I'll start to work on some of the problems we have, powerplay and penalty kill are two things we need to address."
Some of the Warrior players are weighing in on the firing. Captain Steven Gillen, "It's not him out there playing the games it's us and we're the one's not getting it done. It's a tough position but that's the way hockey is, I don't know I guess life's not fair sometimes."
Leading scorer Riley Holzapfel says it's tough to watch Young go. "It's obviously a shock it's sad to see Steve go, he's coached me for a couple years. I just wish him all the best and hope he has a good career ahead of him."
Steve was always a pleasure to talk to. I'm sure underneath he's a bit bitter but he's not showing it. Good luck to Steve Young.
I had a question in the comment portion recently:
"Hey man,Great work on the blog, as always. It has nothing to do with your post, but for those of us out of towners, I was wondering how the rink renos are looking. Also, what are the plans for your broadcast area?All the best, man.-KJ"
Well, it appears that construction is on time and you can definitely notice the presence of construction inside the Civic Center. The building has been closed for three days this week as crews do some interior work and install a new condenser. The Broncos have been moved to the Fairview Arena for practice this week. The old media room which is also the SC Figure Skating Club room no longer exists to make way for the ice-plant. We won't see major construction on the wrap-around seating/luxury box side until the end of hockey season. As soon as the season ends, they will go full blast on that side. As for the curling rink, steady work continues with concrete crews. So far so good. Hopefully everything is ready for the opening face-off for next season but the Broncos could find themselves on the road to start the year for an extended period. We will wait and see.
Some other league notes, The Brandon Wheat Kings will be without defenseman Theran Yeo for the rest of the regular season. Yeo broke his wrist in a pre-game skate last Friday before the Broncos/Wheat Kings game.
The Broncos are finally healthy (knock on wood) as they get set to head to Prince Albert. Kyle Bortis has resumed full-contact practice and will be in the line-up Friday night.
One more local sports note, apparently Gary Janke will return for a third season behind the bench for the Home Hardware "AAA" Legionnaires. Under Janke the team has missed the playoffs both seasons while battling in the basement. Janke's Legionnaires coaching record is 13-60-4-3 . . . . . it's a good thing he doesn't coach in Moose Jaw!
Enjoy the day,