January 17, 2014 - 10:13 AM
KAMLOOPS - It’s still unclear why the coach of the Kamloops Blazers was replaced during a road trip last week because no one is speaking publicly about it.
“I can’t say anything as to why or what exactly happened,” said media spokesperson Tim O’Donovan.
On Jan. 11, the local WHL club announced head coach Dave Hunchak was taking a leave of absence effective immediately with former coach Guy Charron taking over. Hunchak’s departure came before the end of a five-game road trip — the team was in Spokane Jan. 10 and Charron took over on home ice against Prince George Jan. 11.
O’Donovan said the leave of absence is likely permanent.
“To say that it was mutual, I don’t know,” he said. “I would say for sure there was a bit on both sides.”
The team has had a tough rebuilding year after making it to the third round of the WHL playoffs last year for the first time in 14 years.
“When you’re in the (coaching) position, it’s always part of it for sure,” he said. “I can definitely confirm that it’s more than that as well.”
The Blazers roster looks a lot different from last year — players like Colin Smith and JC Lipon moved on — and Charron, who had been head coach for the better part of four years went into semi-retirement.
In his mid-60s, O’Donovan said Charron was ready to give up bus travel that comes with the territory as head coach. Despite filling in for now, his mind hasn’t changed. O’Donovan said Charron won’t continue in the head coaching role next year, and it’s unknown who will fill the spot.
“That’s up in the air,” O’Donovan said.
For now, the Blazers have a busy month on home ice.
“It’s just all about refocusing,” O’Donovan said. “Our team itself seems to have a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.”
The Blazers face the Vancouver Giants at the Interior Savings Centre 7 p.m. Friday.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014