Decline of the dual OHL role

June 4, 2016

It used to be rather common for teams in the Ontario Hockey League to employ one man in the dual role of coach-general manager.

In fact, as recently as six years ago, more than half of the 20 teams in the OHL had one guy doing double duty as coach and GM.

But now, the dual role of coach-GM is becoming obsolete.

During the 2015-2016 season, only five of the 20 teams in the OHL employed one man to do both jobs.

And since the conclusion of the ’15-16 season, three of those five teams — Hamilton Bulldogs, Mississauga Steelheads and the Niagara IceDogs — have decided to split the job and hire a separate coach and GM.

Thus, as of now, only two of the OHL’s 20 teams have one man in the dual role of coach-GM — North Bay Battalion with Stan Butler in charge and the Ottawa 67’s with Jeff Brown at the helm.

Looking back, the winning-est coaches in OHL history are men who performed the dual role of coach-GM.

Topping that list are the now-retired Brian Kilrea, (the late) Bert Templeton, Larry Mavety and Dick Todd followed by the likes of Peter DeBoer (now a National Hockey League head coach with the San Jose Sharks), Mike Vellucci (now the director of hockey operations with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes), George Burnett (recently hired as GM of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds) and the aforementioned Butler in North Bay.

But as times change and coaching preparation and management demands increase, the dual role of being a coach-GM in the OHL is no longer as prevalent as it was just a few years ago.

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