Yes I understand that hockey is a business and all involved strive to go to the next level but I have not seen as many key ingredients of a recipe being omitted than I have in the last 2 months. Losing players to attrition or trade or whatever is part of the process but when you lose 2 of your 3 coaches in a span of weeks: it would be quite worrisome and challenging I would suspect to those that are trying to keep the ship afloat financially. GM Kyle Raftis must be scrambling right now in his mind and John Dean is pretty much back to square one behind the bench other than knowing Raftis is a genius and whoever he assembles on the ice and behind the bench will work out. The issue is going to be one of timing and one of gelling.
ICYMI Here's Who's In and Who's Out
Since about the first week or so of July the Hounds have had some key components of the team break loose. A very important element is your Equipment Manager and Jay Thomas is no longer the man. I reached out to Jay and he said there “were some personal issues” and from every man and woman in the organization they were fantastic to work for. In his place the Hounds recently hired Hamilton native Nike Simpson (yes you read that right) after spending last season with the CJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks where he was the Head Equipment Manager as well as the Facility Manager for the team.
Next up we have Assistant Coach and Soo native Jordan Smith leaving the team to take up a position with the Thunderbirds (Springfield) in the American Hockey League. Taking up the reigns in Jordans place will be a very capable Brendan Taylor who joins the team after spending the past six seasons with the Mississauga Steelheads in the league’s Eastern Conference.
Up next within weeks we find out that the very very talented and overlooked part of the Hounds success Jamie Tardif has left the team and signed as Assistant Coach with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League as well. I would jump at that opportunity as Connecticut is a beautiful State on the Eastern Seaboard. Who remembers the good old Hartford Whalers and the Ron Francis years? I sure do. Replacing Jamie will be Brent Hughes who joins the Hounds after most recently guiding the Espanola Express as Head Coach in 2020-21. Prior to that Brent spent three seasons as an Assistant Coach of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL) and while there had an opportunity to join Hockey Canada U17 as an Assistant Coach as well
I Know.....It's Part of the Game
So moving forward the Hounds not only have to get to know the young kids coming in, but (they) as a coaching staff have to get to know each other. I have always believed in Kyles ability to assemble the best and let’s hope the chemistry behind the bench is a smooth transition because this team is pretty much rebuilding; the great thing though is that with John Dean and Raftis involved we have seen them bring in a young team and end up challenging for a title so this year…well…. you never know what will happen. Do I see John Dean and Kyle Raftis with the team in two years? Absolutely not. My hunch is that one or both of them have already turned down some offers so let’s enjoy them while they are here.
Training Camp Starts Today and....
Today being Tuesday August 30th marks the first day of training camp and I am getting excited to see what transpires especially in goal. As I wrote about three weeks ago; I knew it was a matter of time before Tucker Tynan was moved to make room for a overage player that would be up front to guide this young team. Tucker was cleared just a few days ago. Although he played well at times I couldn’t see him winning many games on his own for us. We need three older players to give the kids from the D out some confidence. We will see what transpires with Landon Miller, Samuel Ivanov and Charlie Schenkel in goal. I always liked Schenkel and I am glad he is back in the mix. There are actually 4 other goalies in camp but odds are two of the above three will make the team but…………….yah never know.
The great news is that Kirill Kudryavtsev is in dah house and the crisis via Russia/Ukraine hasn’t affected his status… but Swedish elite Noel Nordh has yet to make it through Pearson International which would be no surprise as it is a gongshow right now, but aside from politics; I am sure Kyle is working his butt off to get the young kid to report to fill the second allotted spot.
My Finger is on the Pulse
Even though some of the Dogs have left the kennel I anticipate an exciting season watching all the games on the big screen from a special venue to be announced in the near future. Are you excited? I sure am………….Keep coming back for your Hound Bytes and ………. Go Hounds Go !!!!!!!!!!