OHL teams like OHL grads

August 29, 2017

It can be said that the Ontario Hockey League does a pretty good job of taking care of its own when it comes to teams hiring coaches.

For instance, of the 20 head coaches in the OHL, 13 — or 65 per cent — once played in the league.

In the Western Conference alone, 9 of the 10 head coaches formerly played in the OHL.

They are George Burnett of the Guelph Storm, Dale Hunter of the London Knights, Drew Bannister of the Soo Greyhounds, Ryan Oulahen of the Flint Firebirds, Jay McKee of the Kitchener Rangers, Derian Hatcher of the Sarnia Sting, Troy Smith of the Saginaw Spirit, Trevor Letowski of the Windsor Spitfires and Todd Gill of the Owen Sound Attack. Only Chris Hartsburg of the Erie Otters is not an OHL grad though his dad, Craig Hartsburg, is both a former OHL player and coach.

The numbers are less in the Eastern Conference where 4 of the 10 head coaches once played in the OHL.

They are Jody Hull of the Peterborough Petes, Bobby Jones of the Oshawa Generals, Cory Stillman of the Sudbury Wolves and Billy Burke of the Niagara IceDogs.

The percentage is even higher when it comes to the 40 associate or assistant coaches in the OHL.

Of those 40, no less than 28 — or 70 per cent — also played in the league.

And 11 OHL teams — or 55 per cent — employ part-time goaltender coaches who formerly played in the league.

Of note, Sudbury pays particular attention to OHL grads when hiring its hockey staff.

Wolves general manager Rob Papineau, aforementioned head coach Cory Stillman, associate coach Jordan Smith, assistant coach Darryl Moxam and goaltending coach Alain Valiquette are all OHL graduates.

Of further note, all 20 teams with the exception of Erie have at least one OHL grad on their staff.

PHOTO: Flint Firebirds head coach Ryan Oulahen is a former OHL player.

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