Sports

Buccaneers choose new head coach

The Nanaimo Buccaneers will continue their VIJHL voyage with a new man at the helm. The junior B hockey club announced Tuesday night that Derek Bachynski will take over as head coach.

The 31-year-old has been assistant coach of the Powell River Kings of the B.C. Hockey League the past two seasons and also has experience coaching college-level hockey at Ohio University.

“I was ready to become a head coach and since Day 1, since I sat down with [ownership], if felt like it was a good opportunity and a good fit,” he said.

Brenda Levesque, Buccaneers owner, said the new coach will bring commitment, a desire to win, and a fresh approach.

“Not that we want to dump on the old guys, but you’ll find that young coaches have a different attitude and a different way of doing things,” she said.

Bachynski said he wants players who are professional on and off the ice, and who care.

“I like kids that work hard, like to compete every day and want to improve each day,” he said.

The new coach puts a lot of emphasis on special teams and said a defensive-minded game plan will lead to offence.

“Playing a defensive game is very important but you’ve also got to give the players some freedom up front in being creative and making plays,’ Bachynski said.

The assistant coaching picture is yet to be determined, but Glen Smith will continue as the Buccaneers’ general manager. Bachynski said he and Smith have been communicating and he expects that their views will align on player personnel. The new coach will get a chance to see prospective players at spring camp next month, and will be glad to get started.

“I look forward to working hard to make a difference and having fun throughout the year,” he said.

Brad Knight stepped down this off-season after coaching the Bucs for their first two seasons in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Levesque said Knight originally agreed to help out the team for its first year, then decided to stick around for a second year.

“We knew it was a year-to-year thing…” she said. “We’ve been very grateful to Brad for all his help in the last couple of years.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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