Majority owner Len Barrie made his return as the head coach of the Victoria Grizzlies official on Friday.
The 42-year-old former NHL player, Tampa Bay Lightning owner and deposed Bear Mountain CEO has stepped into the top coaching slot of the junior A franchise.
Barrie assumed a coaching role during last season’s playoffs, when the squad struggled and lost against top-ranked Powell River Kings. Then-head coach Victor Gervais was made assistant after the Grizzlies were out of the playoffs in round 2.
“We have unfinished business and we want to win a championship,” Barrie said.
Barrie has demanding expectations for the team, which will see a number of new faces this season.
“We are going to be a big physical team and we are not going to be fun to play against,” Barrie said. “It’s an exciting time for junior hockey. It’s exciting to work with the kids.”
With marrying his responsibilities of owner and coach, Barrie joked, “the good news is I can’t get fired.”
Gervais holds positions of Grizzlies general manager as well as assistant coach.
This will allow him to do more of the behind-the scenes duties, such as organizing travel and analyzing game videos.
“It’s the stuff I like to do, and I am the kind of guy who likes to stay out of the limelight,” Gervais said.
A new addition to the team is Rob Doyle, 47, who will be the team’s associate coach, working mainly with defence players.
The three coaches know each other well, and all played for the Frankfurt Lions team in Germany in 2000.
“Len is probably one of the most motivating people,” Doyle said. “He is a natural with the kids.”
While this will be Doyle’s first time helping coach a team, he has always been involved in the sport.
Doyle played 20 years of professional hockey, much of it in the Austrian elite league, and was NHL scout for the the Tampa Bay Lighting.