Veteran Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League bench boss Dave Clancy has hopped aboard the Espanola Express via a new two-year contract extension, Hockey News North has confirmed.
Though Espanola again missed the West Division playoffs in Clancy’s first season in 2018-2019, the Express improved by 17 points in the standings from the 2017-2018 campaign.
The hard-boiled, hard-driven Clancy is a long-time coach in the NOJHL and is a champion from his days at the helm of the erstwhile Sudbury Jr. Wolves.
Chad Clarke, who is the president and general manager of the Espanola entry, said Clancy will add the responsibilities of being director of hockey operations to being the head coach of the Express.
Clarke noted that, under the direction of Clancy, the Express “added some much-needed on ice-systems structure and worked tirelessly at changing the culture within the dressing room” in his first season in Espanola.
“We feel that Clancy did an incredible overall job this past season and we are pleased with the advancement of the team within what was a complete rebuild season for us,” Clarke added.
With just three returning players in Espanola this past season, Clancy went to work with a rookie-laden team and the Express became much-improved as the 2018-2019 campaign progressed, Clarke pointed out.
On the development side, the Express produced a future Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association commitment when rookie forward Chase Lammi committed to St. Lawrence University.
Another Express rookie in 2018-2019 was Sault Ste. Marie product Jacob Doucette. A 2001 birth-year defenceman, Doucette played in 53 of Espanola’s 56 games.
As Clancy will be returning to Espanola in 2019-2020, so too will Clayton Bertrand, who moves up from associate coach to assistant general manager.
Assistant coach Lucas Wiebenga will also be returning to the Express as will game day coordinator Grant Trayner, trainers Chris Seguin and Don Beauchamp and equipment managers Brian Workman and Jeff Panimick.
New to the Express is Alex Huard, who will be the strength and conditioning coach and goalie instructor.
Of note, the Express will be holding its only tryout camp of the off-season on May 11-12 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Arena in Sudbury.
For more info or to register, visit www.espanolaexpress.com/tryout-camp.