Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has a new assistant coach in place for the 2015-2016 season.
Jim Newell has joined the Crunch as an assistant to coach-general manager Ryan Leonard.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Newell is a Cochrane resident with coaching experience at the midget and bantam levels.
Leonard, known for his strong work ethic and scouting skills, wasted little time in getting Newell on the job as the pair recently returned from a recruiting mission to British Columbia.
In its first season in Cochrane in 2014-2015, the Crunch made it all the way to the playoff finals before losing to the eventual champion Soo Thunderbirds. The Crunch was also a box office success, finishing third in the NOJHL with an average per-game attendance of 466.
Leonard made it quite clear what Newell will bring to the Crunch.
“Jim is a big-time skills coach. His mindset is for skills and drills. He is going to have a big impact on the program,” said Leonard.
Newell replaces Greg Sidock as a Crunch assistant.
A retired teacher, Sidock is returning to Elliot Lake to be an assistant with the NOJHL Wildcats after helping Leonard set up shop in Cochrane for the 2014-2015 season.
Leonard thanked Sidock for his commitment that continued after the erstwhile Elliot Lake Bobcats relocated to Cochrane to become the Crunch a year ago.
“Greg wanted to help with my journey and see my family succeed. That’s the kind of friend he is. We want to thank Greg for his help over the years,” Leonard told HockeyNewsNorth.com.
PHOTO: New Cochrane Crunch assistant coach Jim Newell.