OHL: Sting Introduce new Head coach
On the morning of Friday, June 14th the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League introduced Trevor Letowski as the club’s new head coach. Letowski has been a member of the Sting coaching staff since 2010-11 as an Assistant. The 36 year old played parts of 10 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Coyotes and Canucks as well as 3 seasons in Europe. He played his 3 years of major junior in the OHL with the Sting.
Letowski will have a tough task on his hands, having to clean shop after the Jacques Beaulieu era. Beaulieu was the GM and coach of the franchise from 2011 through 2013. He was brought aboard to oversee the 2011-12 squad which – lead by Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk – was suppose to make a run for the Memorial Cup. However, things did not turn out as planned for the Sting. Injuries to their two stars as well as standout defenseman Connor Murphy lead to Sarnia being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Following another first round playoff exit and while in the mist of assault charges, Beaulieu was fired by the Sting at the conclusion of this past season. Due to the numerous trades made during Beaulieu’s tenure, Letowski and his future GM will only have one 2nd round pick in the OHL drafts from 2013 to 2017.
There is reason to have faith in the 2013-14 edition of the club. Firstly, Letowski has OHL head coaching experience under his belt. He was interim head coach during the 2010-11 season after the dismissal of Dave MacQueen with 18 games left. The Sting are also a young team, with the possibility of up to 20 players returning from this year’s squad. Draft eligibles Anthony DeAngelo (58 PTS, 5th on team), Daniel Nikandrov (26 PTS, 9th on team) and Nikolay Goldobin (68 PTS, 3rd on team) will look to build of their stellar rookie seasons. Brodie Barrick looks primed to take the majority of the reps in net. The 17 year old had a .899 save% and 3 wins in 5 starts last year.
But before they can step on the ice, the Sting must answer the burning questions surrounding the rest of their coaching staff. Alexander Galchenyuk Sr. has not yet been signed to a contract for the coming season and who will be Letowski’s other assistant? The franchise has not announced what will become of the vacant GM position. Currently, the team is being run by a committee, composed of assistant GM Mark Glavin, VP of hockey operations Bill Abercrombie as well as director of scouting Nick Sinclair.
Regardless, it should be an interesting season and everyone is excited to see how the young team will respond to the offseason changes.