Thursday, November 08, 2007

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.
Hmmm, I used to play in a league at the Ice Box. Good little private rink on the reserve, with a nice bar built in upstairs, overlooking the ice. Once I scored on a guy who played in the ECHL, which, for me, is like notching 802...

Oh, right.

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.

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At 3:01 PM, November 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Steve Gainey get the boot too?

At 3:02 PM, November 08, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Any men's league played at a rink without a bar on site isn't a league I want to play in.

At 3:04 PM, November 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they waited a few more weeks they could have had Sutter or Renney

At 9:47 PM, November 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Gainey's still there, as are the existing assistant coaches Andrew Milne and Shane Zulyniak .... Gaglardi did stress the point that Hawgood was on an interim basis, and that a hunt for a permanent head coach would continue

At 9:17 AM, November 09, 2007, Blogger Gare Joyce said...

Greg Hawgood was a helluva player for two world junior teams -- best defenceman at u-20s in moscow in 88. A little too short but skilled he came along at the wrong time.

At 3:34 AM, November 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellerby was shopped to every team in the Dub. Tantamount to trying to hand out free cancer.


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