by Joe Tasca on 11/27/12 at 06:00 PM ET
Normally, when a hockey team fires its head coach, a replacement is named immediately. That didn't happen when the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL relieved Eric Dubois of his duties on Sunday:
As it turns out, according to TVA Sports' Mikaël Lalancette, six assistant coaches from around the league have refused the opening. At least two coaches from outside the Q have also turned down the gig: Paulin Bordeleau, a midget-AAA coach for Esther-Blondin, reportedly turned down the gig despite being with the Titan when they were in Laval.
A second, Claude Bouchard, who is taking a season off from hockey after three years coaching a Jonquière-area team, was reportedly offered the position on Thursday, and didn't turn down the gig until after the Titan had cut ties with Dubois. So, perhaps there was a plan of succession, and that was "hope one of our candidates says yes" before cutting ties with Dubois.
Most assistant coaches in junior hockey would jump at the opportunity for a promotion, even if its with another team. Sure, some guys have family obligations and other considerations, but when that many assistants flatly reject an opportunity to serve as headmaster of a major junior squad, there's clearly something else at play.
Currently the smallest market in the Q, the city of Bathurst has been plagued by unemployment in recent years. The Titan have struggled mightily at the gate during that time, and the combination of poor teams and playoff failures haven't helped matters. Not surprisingly, rumors of possible relocation have cropped up. In fact, back in 2009, the team's owner, Leo-Guy Morrissette, considered selling the club to a group of investors in St. John's, Newfoundland.
With that kind of uncertainty surrounding the future of the team, it's not difficult to understand why Bathurst is having trouble finding a head coach. But the fact that Morrissette would send his current coach packing without having a replacement lined up is just downright bizarre. And considering his team has a game tomorrow night against Victoriaville, it's conceivable Morrissette won't have a bench boss hired in time for the Titan's next game.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.