His team might not make the playoffs, but one way or another, Bill Bestwick is staying in the game.
The city councillor visited the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Thursday for the first time since being named coach of the Oceanside Generals earlier this month.
His Gens were shut out 4-0 by the Nanaimo Buccaneers, but Bestwick saw some positives in his team’s work ethic.
“This team isn’t quitting,” he said. “We’re trying real hard. We’re going to play right till the end.”
Taking over a last-placed team for the stretch run of the season isn’t an ideal situation. The coach wants his players to keep in mind that whatever their record, they’re making the same sacrifices and commitments as any of their peers in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, so there’s no reason they can’t be competitive. Bestwick said he’s trying to “give them something that’s positive to believe in – believe in themselves.”
Bestwick was fired by the junior A Victoria Grizzlies in December when a new ownership group took over that team. Not only was he quickly snapped up by the Generals, but he also agreed to work with the Nanaimo Clippers as a consultant.
“The title is senior adviser and that, I think, means old-age pensioner,” he panned.
There are no specific job duties, but he’s had dialogue with the Clips about brand activation and other initiatives.
“I’ll contribute in any way that the organization feels as though I can contribute in bringing a public-relations profile, or assist in the management structure, or scouting,” he said. “Anything that I can do to help the team take strides in the community, I will.”
He was asked why he was willing to work once more with the Clippers, who fired him as coach three years ago. He pointed out that over the years he’s been willing to help out with a few different local sports teams, including the V.I. Raiders and the Nanaimo Timbermen.
“I want to stay active,” Bestwick said. “I want to give back to organizations or kids or people that might need help.”