The Nanaimo Buccaneers have chosen to go forward with an all-new coaching staff.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club announced last week that Dan Lemmon will coach the team in 2015-16.
Lemmon will be supported by associate coach Jesse Shiels and assistants Ross Walker and Cam McCarrick.
Lemmon has known team owners Phil and Brenda Levesque for years, and became interested in the coaching vacancy when he heard about it earlier this off-season.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I finished coaching major midget and it’s just never really worked out until this year,” Lemmon said. “So I couldn’t be happier.”
He played junior B hockey and said it’s a mix of younger players looking to work their way up the ranks, and older players wishing to end their careers with fun, competitive hockey.
“It’s an age group where you have to allow the kids to have a bit of fun, but also be disciplined and take things very seriously,” the coach said.
To win, the Buccaneers will need a mix of skill, size and speed, he said.
“My coaching style is finishing every hit, defence-first hockey. So that’s going to be expected out of everyone on the team…” the coach said. “The kids are expected to be coming in in shape and working hard.
The goal is a championship. The Buccaneers have never made it to the league finals, but Lemmon said there’s no reason why the team shouldn’t be a contender.
He’s a vocal coach, he said, and with a young staff, he thinks the coaches will be able to relate to players, communicate with them and get the best out of them on the ice.
“I get pretty excited on the bench and I’ve always been like that and I think that’s going to rub off on the kids,” he said.
Lemmon is a former coach of Nanaimo’s North Island Silvertips, Shiels played with the Cowichan Valley Capitals and coached in the North American Hockey League, Walker is a competitive boxer who played minor hockey in Nanaimo and McCarrick played with the Silvertips.
The Bucs hold spring camp later this month at Cliff McNabb Arena and are expecting as many as 100 athletes to participate. For more information, please visit buccaneers.vijhl.com.