Both the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires and the runner-up Erie Otters have joined the growing Ontario Hockey League coach search.
Earlier this week, Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson departed Windsor to take over as bench boss of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. And Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch moved on from Erie to take an assistant position with the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Ottawa 67’s still have vacancies at the head coach and general manager positions following the late April resignation of Jeff Brown, who held the dual role.
And several teams have openings for associate and assistant jobs, including Sudbury Wolves, North Bay Battalion, Hamilton Bulldogs and Peterborough Petes.
Among the names being mentioned as potential candidates for the vacant jobs are Windsor associate Trevor Letowski, former Sudbury bench boss David Matsos, former Mississauga Steelheads GM and coach James Boyd, Kitchener Rangers associate Jason Fortier and former Erie assistant Chris Hartsburg.
Hartsburg, who has spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League, has quickly surfaced as the top candidate to return to Erie to replace Knoblauch as the Otters new bench boss.
There is always the real possibility that OHL teams could go outside the league to fill vacancies. That was the case a year ago when the Saginaw Spirit went to the low minor pro level to unearth rising coaching star Spencer Carbery and when Kitchener lured Fortier away from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League.