His zeal and zest for the game are clear and pronounced.
Talk hockey with him and chances are the conversation will be a long-lasting, long-winded one.
And not only has Jamie Henderson signed up for another term as head coach of the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League for next season but he was recently hired as the new general manager for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
The 44-year old Henderson has had a notable hockey presence locally since his high school playing days for the venerable Sir James Dunn Eagles under esteemed coach Remi Gentes.
From basic player at Sir James Dunn to multiple times, league and provincial championship assistant coach with both the St. Mary’s Knights high school team and — in a previous role — the aforementioned Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL, Henderson’s successful ways and impact on the local hockey scene are top-drawer.
Not always for the faint of heart as someone who says what he thinks and doesn’t back away from a verbal showdown, Henderson’s passion for the game and pride in what he does has, at times, been seen by some as showmanship and arrogance.
But those who know him well will attest to the heart and soul that he puts into the game on behalf of the players — and to fuel his own love of hockey.
Now, in this off season of hockey — if there is such a thing — Henderson’s coaching hat has him thinking short term and long term for the U-18 Jr. Greyhounds as he goes head first into his new gig as the GM in a what-goes-around-comes-around role with the NOJHL Thunderbirds.
The new ownership of the Thunderbirds, made up of Cole Jarrett (and his wife Lee-Anne) and Trevor Daley, tapped Henderson as their handpicked GM after recently taking over operating control of the local NOJHL team from Darren Smyl.
As he is thrilled to be returning as coach of the U-18 Jr. Greyhounds, Henderson is both humbled and honoured to have been hired as the GM of the NOJHL Thunderbirds.
“I am really grateful to Cole and his wife Lee-Anne and to Trevor for this opportunity. To have them, as owners of the Thunderbirds, put their trust in me means a lot and I am going to work as hard as I can to show them their trust is well-founded. This team has always meant a lot to me and more importantly the relationships with staff and the countless players,” Henderson told Hockey News North.
Henderson also touched on the relationship between the Thunderbirds and Jr. Greyhounds.
“To be able to coach the U-18 program and have the two teams work closely together is huge for our city and a great opportunity for young players. We will focus on developing as many players as we can and if that means they move on to the Ontario Hockey League that is great but if not, there will be plenty of opportunities to progress, get better and maybe play college hockey.
“It is a huge responsibility to have these families and players put their trust in our program to develop them both on and off the ice as young men first and foremost — and we take that responsibility seriously and we are excited for this new journey,” Henderson added.
The hustling Henderson also noted the support he has from his wife, Maggie, in taking on more hockey duties.
“Maggie is an amazing wife to me and a wonderful mom to our little boy Brady. She is so supportive of my passion for hockey and she is the absolute rock for our family,” Henderson added.
Meantime, Henderson is keeping tabs on the Jr. Greyhounds and planning off season training and development for the U-18 program while at his desk and on the phone looking to maintain and build on the NOJHL Thunderbirds ahead of the 2021-2022 campaign.