Thursday, November 25, 2010

Changes Behind the Bench

It was a tough start to the day as word started getting out that there was a big change in the works around the Spruce Kings. Before noon the speculation became reality with the news that Ed Dempsey was no longer the head coach and general manager of the team having been relieved of his duties. After the initial shock the next question was who would take over behind the bench, the answer - Dave Dupas.

With playing experience in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, NCAA Division I and semi-pro, Dupas also brings coaching experience from Major Midget, Junior 'B' and Junior 'A' levels. His most recent Junior 'A' experience was behind the bench of the Williams Lake Timberwolves during the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

I was in the Spruce Kings office when the new coach arrived and it didn't take long for him to start getting acclimated with his new team. First up was the introductions with Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel - Mike Hawes and the assistant coaches - Jason Garneau and Tom Bohmer.

After a short meeting with those three, Dupas met with all the players individually and then as a group to evaluate where everybody was and to start laying out the plan moving forward. It was shortly after these meetings that I had my chance to talk to the new coach and ask him a few questions. What follows is my first interview with the new head coach of the Prince George Spruce Kings.

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After speaking with Dave Dupas I was also able to talk to the president of the Prince George Spruce Kings, Darcy Buryn. As you can imagine, it wasn't easy to be the man standing behind this decision and after a long day of answering questions I hit him with a few tough ones as well.

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I haven't had time to properly reflect back on my experiences with Ed Dempsey in the almost seven years that he spent with the Spruce Kings. I hope to be able to do just that as he has been a big influence on me and spent a great deal of time teaching me some of the intricacies of the game of hockey. Without that input over the years, I'm absolutely certain I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now with the team.

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