The timing would lead one think a bigger and brighter stage awaits Pat Conacher.
After just two seasons at the helm of the Regina Pats, the former NHL assistant coach and AHL head coach is on the move again after resigning. Time will tell how this affects the chances Regina, which always seems to be in the midst of rebuilding, has of getting back into the playoff field next season. The Pats seem to have taken it in stride by promoting from within, moving two-year assistant Malcolm Cameron into the top job.
From Jamie Nye (@jamienye)
Conacher says after deliberation with his family he decided he will not return to Regina, despite having one year left on his contract.
The Pats have promoted assistant coach Malcolm Cameron to Head Coach.
"As Pat had another year on his contract his resignation certainly caught us off guard," said Pats General Manager Chad Lang in release from the team. "We would like to thank Pat for his commitment to the Regina Pats organization for the past two years and wish him and his family all the best in the future."
Lang says they did not believe a coaching search was necessary, believing Cameron was the right man for the job. (CJME 980 Regina)
As BTN's own Kelly Friesen noted, it reads like Conacher is pursuing an opportunity at a higher level. Coaches want to move up, the same way players do.
@neatebuzzthenet There was a lot of talk he was going to step down in March.Apparently, he's getting a lot of interest from the NHL
— Kelly Friesen (@KellyFriesen) May 8, 2013
The Pats, contrary to what's in the release, seemed somewhat braced for this development.
From Greg Harder:
“When we put together our staff two years ago we wanted to have a succession plan in place to maintain continuity if and when any of our coaches moved on,” added Lang. “Malcolm [Cameron] is a quality coach and we did not even consider looking anywhere else. We are excited to move forward with Malcolm and we feel very fortunate that we had a top notch person and coach ready to step right in without us missing a beat as an organization.”
In his nine seasons as a head coach in the ECHL, Cameron never missed the playoffs in those years while twice taking teams to the conference finals. Three All-Star Games and a runner-up for Coach of the Year three times highlight his coaching career in the ECHL. In 699 games coaching in the ECHL, Cameron registered a record of 410-203-86 including back-to-back 52 win seasons with the Texas Wildcatters. (Regina Leader-Post)
The left-unsaid is that the Pats' playoff appearance during Conacher's first season is their only one in the past half-decade. Regina essentially played the kiddies while finishing last in the Eastern Conference, although a team which tallied only 191 goals has graduated an 80-point overage scorer, Lane Scheidl. Regina does boast a budding offensive leader in 18-year-old Morgan Klimchuk, who was a core player for Canada's gold-medal-winning team at the IIHF world U18 championship last month. Point being, there probably is some adjustment to losing Conacher, but it will not automatically be a setback. The biggest question will be whether an in-house change brings in a different style of play. Regina got by in 2011-12 by being gritty since that was its best option with the talent available; it couldn't pull it off this season and a team which plays a grinding game to little success is often unpalatable to the fans in the stands.
Sad to here Pat stepped down as head coach. One of the best coaches I've ever had in hockey. Wouldn't be where I am today without him.
— Lane Scheidl (@LScheidl92) May 8, 2013
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.