The Sicamous Eagles have a new head coach and general manager.
On Jan. 11, Eagles president Sheila Devost announced Nick Deschenes would be the team’s new head coach and Tyler Moore the new general manager.
The new hires will replace the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) squad’s outgoing coach, Gerald Bouchard, and general manager, Ron Sleeman.
Devost said Deschenes comes to the Eagles with coaching experience gained in the British Columbia Hockey League and KIJHL, “bringing the discipline and commitment to improving players through structured living and fitness.”
Deschenes has a plethora of playing experience himself, being a former American Hockey League athlete. He’s also played for Yale University in the National Collegiate Athletics Association and on various teams in Europe.
Devost said the Eagles are going through a little bit of a rebuilding phase and are happy to have a coach who has lived the life Eagles players are currently living.
Devost thanked the Eagles’ outgoing coach and general manager for their calming influence and guidance to the team, as well as their role in helping build the team. She said they were the right people at the time they were hired and now, the new staff are the right people for the present.
The decision wasn’t easy, said Devost, but as always it was made with the players’ best interests at heart.
On Dec. 10, the KIJHL announced a player on the Eagles participated in league games and team activities while not meeting the league’s requirement of being fully vaccinated. As a result of that, Bouchard was suspended for eight games and Sleeman was suspended for 45 days.
Devost wanted to emphasize the suspensions had nothing to do with the management change, adding the suspensions could have happened to anyone. “Ron (Sleeman) is a true gentleman and I expected as much from him. He just wants what’s best for the team,” she said. “It was a great relationship we had with him and Gerald.”
The Eagles’ president gave a huge thank you to the team’s assistant coach/general manager Rob Sutherland, who’d been acting as head coach and general manager during the suspensions in addition to his other duties with the team.
“Rob is the heart and soul of the team… he’s been pretty much everybody for the last six weeks.”