Former Warrior Hockey Bench Boss Taylor leaves Reign for AHL job in Chicago
Release by: The Sun // J.P. Hoornstra, Staff Writer
Karl Taylor, the only head coach in Ontario Reign history, has agreed to join the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League as an assistant coach.
The decision was confirmed by multiple sources close to the team who requested anonymity because neither the Wolves nor the Reign had made a formal announcement. Voicemail messages left Wednesday for Reign president Justin Kemp and Taylor weren't returned.
The Wolves are coached by former Edmonton Oilers head coach and longtime NHL player Craig MacTavish. The job became open earlier this week when Wolves assistant Ron Wilson took the same position with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs.
Taylor, 40, has a 96-99-22 record in three seasons in Ontario. He's been the coach of the Kings' ECHL affiliate the last six years, including three seasons with the Reading (Penn.) Royals. Taylor has never coached above the ECHL level as either a head coach or an assistant.
The Reign captured the Pacific Division championship in their first year of existence before falling in seven games to the Stockton Thunder. That remains the team's only playoff appearance in three years. In 2009-10 and again last season, the Reign finished last in an eight-team Western Conference that sends seven to the playoffs.
Taylor had already re-signed eight players from last year's roster: forwards Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer and C.J. Stretch, defensemen Chad Starling, Pat Bowen and Jason Fredricks, and goalies Beau Erickson and Jase Weslosky.
That's a well-rounded start, but the new coach will have less than eight weeks to put together a complete roster before training camp begins.
A short list of replacements is already in the works. Scott Muscutt, who coached the Bossier-Shreveport (La.) Mudhens to the most-recent Central Hockey League championship, is believed to be among the leading candidates.
Muscutt also captured the CHL championship in 2000-01, his first season behind the bench, and made two other finals appearances in 11 seasons.
Other possibilities include Reading Royals assistant coach Tim Branham, former Kings defenseman and assistant coach Mark Hardy, and Dan Watson, an assistant coach with the ECHL's Toledo Walleye and a former Long Beach Ice Dogs defenseman.
Brian Bourque selected to coach in NHLPA Allstate All-Canadians
Head coach of the Waterloo men's hockey program Brian Bourque has been chosen as a coach for the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Cup held on Saturday, August 6 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
The Mentorship Cup wraps up an intense five-day camp, led by 21-year National Hockey League (NHL) veteran Gary Roberts that will have given 42 of Canada's top bantam-aged players an exclusive opportunity to learn from NHL players. NHL stars such as Luke Schenn, Jeff Skinner and Jason Spezza have been on hand for the camp to teach these young and upcoming players the importance of fitness, nutrition, mental condition, and much more.
This was the first year the NHLPA has put on this mentorship program and coach Bourque is thrilled to be part of the coaching staff for the Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Cup that will be broadcasted on TSN. Two of the games brightest young stars Jason Spezza and Luke Schenn will face off as head coaches in the Cup with Brian Bourque serving as an assistant coach on Team Spezza.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity. There are a lot of excellent people involved in the program and I know it will be a great experience for these young players.” commented Bourque.
The Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Program aims to support all levels of hockey players and athletes by providing tips and advice to players, coaches, parents and fans. Since its launch in November 2010, the program has enabled NHL players and leading experts to successfully reach tens of thousands of Canadians through the web, grassroots initiatives and special events, for the purpose of mentoring and guiding the next generation of Canada's hockey youth.
“The NHLPA understands the importance of supporting Canada's hockey communities in order to continue raising intelligent and healthy athletes who can flourish both in the game and outside of it,” said Mike Ouellet, NHLPA Chief of Business Affairs. “That's why the Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Camp is about more than just on-ice skills. Players and parents will be educated on a variety of subjects that not only create a well-rounded athlete, but a strong individual as well.”
Former UW assistant and Storm coach McGuire dies
The phone rang in Jack Birch’s office.
It was the early 1980s at the University of Waterloo and the school’s athletic director, Wally Delahey, wanted to speak to the head coach of his hockey Warriors.
Delahey wasn’t concerned about Birch.
It was Birch’s assistant coach, Edward John McGuire, who was the problem.
“The security people are worried E.J. is sleeping in the offices,” Delahey said. “He’s there so early in the morning and there so late at night, the security people think he’s actually living there.”
Birch chuckled as he told that story on Thursday, a day after McGuire died at age 58 following a five-month battle with a rare and incurable form of cancer.
McGuire was the director of NHL Central Scouting at the time of his death.
The Buffalo native helped coach the Warriors from 1982-84 before earning his PhD in sports psychology from Waterloo in 1990.
He also coached the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm for two seasons from 1995-97. He was an NHL assistant in Philadelphia, Ottawa and Chicago.
He came to Waterloo recommended by future NHL coaching great Mike Keenan.
Both McGuire and Birch were working on their PhD’s in the kinesiology department when they took over the Warriors. But McGuire’s all-hours presence in the little hockey office in the basement of the physical activities complex was legendary.
“That was the type of guy he was,” Birch said, when reached in Boca Raton, Fla. “He just put so much effort into what he was doing.”
In Guelph, McGuire had a bit of an “eccentric professor” reputation, Storm GM Mike Kelly said. He was caring and humble and intense.
Kelly recalls seeing McGuire the morning after a 1997 playoff loss to Ottawa.
“The next morning, he’s still in the office, still it the same clothes. He had literally worked through the night with motivational things and strategies.”
One of his captains in Guelph, Chris Hajt, said McGuire was always well-prepared. As a friend of the late Roger Neilson, who also died of cancer, McGuire used video as a coaching tool in the days of clunky video players and recorders.
“He had VCRs going and dubbing. He had three of them going,” said Hajt, now a Storm assistant coach. “It was unbelievable what he could do with video and how he taught.”
Birch, who has held NHL positions with Central Scouting, Vancouver, New York and Florida, formed quite coaching duo with McGuire in Waterloo.
“Two guys who really taught the game intellectually,” recalled former Warriors captain Blair McArthur, who now runs a Markham-based road construction company.
“Lord knows we needed help at that time. E.J. was such a good foil for Jack Birch. He really got guys to focus on what was important, not just on the ice but with school and the rest of their lives.”
They were innovators too. McArthur remembers the coaches using the “Delta” system of two forwards and three defencemen. The also had the “Nickel-6” play where they pulled their goalie on early-game two-man advantages to make it a six-on-three.
“E.J. and Jack were all over that stuff,” McArthur said. “Never a dull day with those two.”
McGuire was diagnosed with his cancer, leiomyoscarcoma, in December. Birch said McGuire had initially felt a soreness in one knee in the summer and a tumour was discovered.
McGuire is survived by his wife Terry. The couple got engaged during his stint in Guelph. They have two young daughters, Jacqueline and Erin.
Even with his busy schedule scouting future NHL stars, McGuire always had time to mentor Hajt on the ways of the coaching world.
“Be who you are,” he advised Hajt. “Be true to yourself and what you believe in.”
McGuire lived and coached by those words.
“He was a special person,” Kelly said. “Absolutely unique.”
'Stangs double up on Warriors to take game 1
The Warriors lost the opening game of the OUA west semifinals by a score of 4-2 to the Western Mustangs on Thursday night at the Thompson Arena in London. The Mustangs scored three goals in a span of seven minutes early in the second period and did not look back en route to a crucial game 1 victory.
The first period saw the Western Mustangs controlling much of the play with Waterloo attempting to shake their bus legs. Warrior goalie Keaton Hartigan (Kitchener, Ont.) had to be sharp making 10 saves to send this game scoreless into the second.
In the second, Western would take the lead after Aaron Dileo (Waterloo, Ont.) of the Warriors was called for a four minute spearing infraction. On the man-advantage, McQuade gained possession of the puck and walked in, slipping a shot through Hartigan’s legs. McQuade’s goal broke a 151:80 minute shutout for Hartigan as Waterloo downed Lakehead two games to none in the OUA west quarter-finals.
McQuade set up the Mustangs second goal as he cycled across the top of the circle and fired a shot on net that was tipped by Corbeil for a two goal lead.
Western showed no sign of slowing down as Baker was hit with the puck while wide open in the slot and fired a shot wide of the net. Baker regained control of the puck and fanned on a shot at the top of the crease as bodies clogged the blue paint. Baker finally added the Mustangs third goal as he wired a shot off the post and past Hartigan.
Just five minutes later, Furlong, Kyle Lamb and Yashar Farmanara exploded on a 3-on-1 offensive rush. Farmanara streaked down the right wing and fired a shot off Hartigan’s left pad, leaving a juicy rebound for Furlong who secured the goal with a one timer in the top half the of the net. The Mustangs held Waterloo off for the remainder of the period and carried a 4-0 lead into the final 20 minutes.
Justin Leclerc (Saskatoon, Ont.) relieved Hartigan to start the third period as Waterloo looked to put some jump back into their game. The Warriors fore-checked hard at the drop of the puck and worked the puck around in Western’s territory. Jarrett Schnurr (Waterloo, Ont.) caught Mustangs netminder off-guard with a quick shot, burying Waterloo’s first goal of the game.
Waterloo’s Josh Schappert (Winnipeg, Man.) tipped a shot past Grieco with ten minutes left to play, bringing the game within two goals for a score of 4-2, but that was as close as the black and gold would get.
Grieco backed the Mustangs with 23 solid saves on the night and held on for the victory. Hartigan stopped 20 of 24 shots while Leclerc made five saves in the final frame.
Game two of the series goes Saturday, February 26 at the CIF Arena in Waterloo. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm and the game can be seen live on the Streaming Sports Network (SSN Canada).