Dyck joining race for Pats' job
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
May 8, 2009
REGINA -- Throw another log on the fire.
The race to become the next head coach of the Regina Pats is heating up, with Michael Dyck about to join the fray, the Leader-Post has learned. Sources say the Lethbridge Hurricanes will announce Friday that Dyck won't be returning to the WHL club next season, freeing him up to apply for the vacancy in Regina.
The Pats' search for a new bench boss began Tuesday after they fired rookie bench boss Dale Derkatch.
The early front-runner is ex-Pats head coach Curtis Hunt, but Dyck might have something to say about that. Not only does the former Pats' defenceman have ties to the organization as a player, but he is a respected veteran head coach with a proven track record. Perhaps most importantly from Regina's perspective, he has had success in the playoffs, guiding Lethbridge to the WHL final in 2007-08 before losing to the eventual Memorial Cup-champion Spokane Chiefs.
Dyck spent three-plus seasons as the 'Canes bench boss, compiling a regular-season record of 134-120-19. This past season, Lethbridge was expected to be one of the elite teams in the WHL, but struggled with consistency while super sniper Zach Boychuk missed considerable time due to injuries, plus world junior commitments with Team Canada. The team also didn't get star defenceman Luca Sbisa back from the Philadelphia Flyers until late in the campaign.
In the end, Lethbridge finished with a 35-32-3-2 mark before upsetting the Saskatoon Blades, a 49-win team, in the first round. The 'Canes were eventually swept in the second round by the powerhouse Calgary Hitmen.
The Pats have only been past the first round twice in 14 years under the current regime.
It has been speculated for some time that the Hurricanes would release Dyck, who reportedly didn't see eye-to-eye with GM Roy Stasiuk. The team's board of directors finally made its decision Thursday. Former Kelowna Rockets bench boss Jeff Truitt is rumoured to be a leading candidate.
Dyck previously served as an assistant coach with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Hurricanes and Vancouver Giants. As a player, the 40-year-old Lethbridge native spent two-plus seasons in Regina from 1986-87 to 1988-89, compiling 12 goals, 55 points and 319 penalty minutes in 136 games. He also played professionally in Japan.
Another potential top candidate for the Pats' vacancy is Swift Current Broncos head coach/GM Dean Chynoweth. However, the Pats would need permission to negotiate with Chynoweth, who's under contract for one more season. As of Thursday afternoon, Broncos chairman Al Stewart said the team hadn't been approached by Regina.
Hunt, meanwhile, has two years left on his contract with the Ottawa Senators, who've offered him a chance to return as the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Binghamton. However, Hunt told the Leader-Post on Tuesday that he'd be interested in discussing a reunion with Regina, where he spent four seasons before bolting last summer to Ottawa.
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