It had been a few years since Jim Capy and I had talked face-to-face.
Oh, we had exchanged a few e-mails along the way, sharing sporadic bits of hockey information.
But last night, Capy and I met up at Service Grill on Korah Rd. in Sault Ste. Marie, site of the Thunderbird Hockey Show that I host (along with Tuesday’s Hockey North Show) on ESPN 1400 Radio.
Capy is back in hockey, the game he says is in his blood.
He and I talked some hockey last night.
Major midget hockey will return to Sault Ste. Marie for the 2014-2015 season and as we were first to report, Capy will be the head coach of the new Soo entry.
As the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are the new operators of the Soo entry that will make its return to the Great North Midget Hockey League in 2014-2015 after a one-season hiatus, Capy will be ending a furlough of his own.
The 56-year old Capy stepped down as head coach of the NOJHL’s Blind River Beavers at the end of the 2011-2012 season.
But as he is scheduled to retire from his full-time job with Canada Post in 10 months, Capy jumped at the opportunity to take the head coaching job with the new Soo midgets after being approached by his long-time sidekick Kevin Cain.
Cain, who has won multiple championships as a coach and a GM in the NOJHL with the Thunderbirds and the erstwhile Soo Indians, worked under Capy in Blind River and with major midget teams in the Michigan Soo.
Suffice to say that Cain and Capy know one another rather well.
“No question about it, Jim is the right guy to coach our midget team,” said Cain, who for the time being at least, is the GM of both the Soo midgets and the Jr. A Thunderbirds.
Having coached at the high school, major midget and Jr. A levels for 25 years, Capy “knows his stuff inside and out” said Cain.
Capy, to be sure, is embracing his return to coaching hockey.
Appearing on the Thunderbird Hockey Show, a relaxed Capy talked about his “passion for the game” and for “developing young hockey players into young men.”
Not that Capy is always so relaxed.
An intense, high-strung individual when behind the bench, Capy has a competitive streak that borders on combustion. On the flip side, he’s a patient teacher who runs a well-planned, diverse practice.
Cain knows exactly what the Soo midgets are getting in Capy and said the players as individuals and the program as an operation will benefit from his presence.
“Have Jim and I always got along? Have we always seen eye to eye? Absolutely not,” said Cain. “But at the end of the day, we see the big picture the same way.”
I must say that it was good to see Capy last night.
We have been friends who have had our differences over the years.
I haven’t liked Jim and he hasn’t liked me.
As Jim can be stubborn, obstinate, unyielding and headstrong, those same words have been known to describe me.
But as Jim likes coaching hockey, I like writing and talking hockey.
Hockey is what we share.
It was good to catch up with Coach Capy last night.
Players who are interested in trying out for, and being a part of, the new Soo major midget team for the 2014-2015 season are advised of an information session to be held on Thursday, February 20 at 7 p.m. at the Essar Centre.
Both general manager Kevin Cain and head coach Jim Capy will be at the session.
For more information, e-mail Coach Capy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Management of the new Soo major midgets is considering nicknames for the team.
Right now, Soo Rapids is a favourite choice as the new moniker.
PHOTO: Jim Capy, arriving at Service Grill on Wednesday night. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)