By Molly McNulty - Terrace Standard
Published: September 15, 2009 11:00 PM
It’s out with the old and in with the new for the River Kings, with Andy McCleary as head coach, Andrew Deans as the new general manager and Lance Carlsen as team owner secured for this season.
Deans, former sports anchor for Astral Media, announced last week that McCleary, previous coach of the local women’s hockey team, will take over as head coach for the 2009/10 season of senior men’s hockey in the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL).
McCleary was born and raised in Terrace and was a member of the River Kings in the first two years of operation.
Deans says that they are currently in talks with players from last year and are focusing on creating a fresh start for the team with community involvement for a family experience at the core of the franchise.
A few weeks ago when Lance took over the team from his brother Burny Carlsen - who had been trying to sell the Kings since January of this year - Lance said he would be relying on a community group to run the operation as he would be busy running his construction business in the Lower Mainland.
With Deans as his go-to man, the year began with an official off-ice team meeting last week at the sportsplex with the first training camp taking place tomorrow Thurs. Sept. 17 at 10:15 p.m.
McCleary says that there was a great turnout for the first meeting, exceeding his expectations.
“It was good, there was a lot of positive energy...lots of familiar faces but lots of new ones too, which was really nice to see,” says McCleary. He says he’s fired up and ready for an exciting season and most importantly he’s hoping to put out all the negative energy that had surrounded the team - after previous owner Burny moved out of town leaving the future of the team up in the air.
“For me none of that matters, my goal is doing one thing: having a successful season, going into playoffs and to win playoffs and go onto the Coy Cup...it’s all about moving forward,” says McCleary.
And what will he look for in individual players in order to make a successful team?
“I’m a big fan of hard work,” he says.
Deans also has a vision in how the team can move forward, saying that being a part of the Terrace is Hockeyville committee made him realize that in order for things to function properly, they need to take place in an organized and family oriented fashion, because, “no one lets family members down.”
“In the past there wasn’t a direct vision,” says Deans of the hockey team. “[We’re] Hockeyville’s team, we have to show what we’re made of.”
Deans says that fans are in for a treat this season, with some big surprises planned for the opening game which will be October 2 against the Kitimat Ice Demons.
For now the plan is to select this years roster and rebuild a fan and sponsorship base.