Hawgood takes over
The new owners of the Kamloops Blazers have made their first move in reshaping the WHL franchise.
Dean Clark, who was in his fifth season with the club, has been dismissed as general manager and head coach. Former Blazers defencemean Greg Hawgood will be named head coach today.
Hawgood, who doesn’t have any coaching experience at this level, has been managing the Ice Box Arena.
Hawgood was legendary as a junior defencemen, putting up positively Bobby Orr like numbers with the Blazers, including a 119-point season in his draft year.
That was good enough to get him picked in the 10th round, 202nd overall. Again, the NHL's size bias was to blame.
A 5-foot-9 defenceman might as well have had an extra head back in the late 1980s, but Hawgood made the Bruins as a 20-year-old, notching 40 points in 56 games as a rookie. He went on to a motley pro career that last saw him in the NHL with Dallas for two games in 2001-02, before heading for Finland in 2005-06.
What he doesn't have is coaching experience in junior hockey, although with his old pal Mark Recchi a major player in the ownership group, that might not be a problem. Hawgood and Recchi played together both in junior, and later with the Philadelphia Flyers in the early '90s. Both their jerseys have been retired by the Blazers.
An interesting sidebar to all of this is the fact that Clark, as a final act, had already traded Kamloops' best defenceman, Keaton Ellerby, for a bag of pucks. Clark had signed a three-year contract four months ago.
Not a lot's going right back home.