To be sure, Tanner Bowditch has come full circle as the head coach of the new Elliot Lake Red Wings of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Not new to town, Bowditch played for the erstwhile Elliot Lake Wildcats several years back, during the 2014-2015 NOJHL season.
“It feels good to be back up north,” said the 26-year old Bowditch, who hails from Uxbridge, Ontario.
Bowditch was hired in mid September as Elliot Lake’s third head coach after the first two hires — Brian Noad and Jon Campbell — resigned without ever having coached a regular season game for the Red Wings. Rather strangely, Red Wings general manager Mark Savery did not give a reason for the abrupt and unexpected resignations of both Noad and Campbell.
At any rate, the young, energetic Bowditch has more of a link to junior hockey than just with Elliot Lake. Besides playing and now coaching in Elliot Lake, he has been an assistant coach with the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL and the Renfrew Wolves of the Central Canada Hockey League, both times under the tutelage of general manager and head coach Ryan Leonard.
As for his coaching style now that he is the head master in Elliot Lake, Bowditch told Postmedia that “I like to say I am a players coach. I am typically firm but fair. I am not someone who yells much but I can if I need to.”
As for the Red Wings team that he took over and is part of a hotly contested West Division of the NOJHL with the Soo Thunderbirds, Soo Eagles, Blind River Beavers, Espanola Express and Sudbury Cubs, Bowditch noted that “we are a fast team but not quick. We have got a lot of big powerful bodies, but with size often you lack that foot speed. But I think we will get there as the season goes on. We have got a healthy mix of big and small, and skill and size.”
Bowditch gave kudos to Elliot Lake assistant coach Adam Lamarre, who kept the Red Wings in check after the two previous bench bosses stepped down.
“Adam has done a really really good job in getting us set up. It has been pretty tumultuous for these kids, for Adam and for the whole team. Adam has been steadfast through the whole thing,” Bowditch noted.