Rich Gosselin has resigned as Pistons Head Coach
The Steinbach Pistons lost the only head coach they've ever known Thursday after Rich Gosselin handed in his resignation.
Following their 22nd loss in 36 games Wednesday night, Gosselin and Assistant Coach Paul Dyck spoke at length about the future of the hockey club. Dyck says the former European pro star decided it was in the best interest of the club if he step aside and tendered his resignation Thursday morning.
Dyck says it's tough to see Gosselin go.
"I know he's invested a lot of time and energy and I know his heart is certainly with this organization. He was hoping to stay around and see some success and playoff success but....he came in this morning and notified me of the decision he'd made. A difficult one for him and it's tough for me to see him go. Not only do I think he is a good hockey coach, he's a good man and has also become a good friend."
Dyck will step in as the interim head coach and says he may have a better idea of just how long 'interim' is following meetings with owner Mel Sonnenberg over the upcoming Christmas break. When asked how the players took the news, Dyck says they were stunned.
"For a lot of these guys, it's the first time they've gone through a coaching change mid-season. Most of them have gone through bantam and midget programs where a coach is there for the duration of their time there, so this is new to them. I think Rich connected with a lot of the guys on a level that extends beyond the ice surface and I think a lot of the guys knew that he cared a lot about them as individuals as well."
To say it's been a taxing season for both Gosselin and Dyck is perhaps an understatement. A season that started with such optimism has quickly spiralled into another losing campaign. The trade earlier this week of captain and leading-scorer Cole Brunet followed moves last month involving Russell Trudeau and Brennan Ritchie, and was a sign that many of the team's more skilled players had given up on turning the corner, and perhaps on Gosselin.
The constant roster moves certainly took their toll on the coaching staff and the team's ability to win. Dyck admits the writing was on the wall.
"You never like to forsee this day and you hope it never comes, but we've talked about his on and off for the last little while. As much as you try to prepare for it, when the day comes it's still a bit of a shock."
Gosselin was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.
He leaves the Pistons sitting dead last in the Addison Division on 25pts - 27pts back of the division (and league) leading Winnipeg Blues. His overall record with the team sits at 43 wins and 113 losses (8 of those in overtime).
The team will return to action Friday night in Selkirk when they take on the Steelers.