Lack of 'respect' triggers Leaf board to switch gears with coaching staff

The Nelson Leafs president John Dooley (inset) said a change had to be made with the KIJHL hockey club.
The Nelson Leafs president John Dooley (inset) said a change had to be made with the KIJHL hockey club.

There were a number of “issues” that led to the Nelson Leafs parting ways with coach and GM Dave McLellan and his assistant Greg Andrusak team president John Dooley told The Nelson Daily Wednesday from Spokane.

Dooley joined the team for its Kootenay International Junior Hockey League road trip to the Lilac City after the "Leafs have parted ways with Dave McLellan and Greg Andrusak.”

“We didn’t feel the board was being treated with respect,” Dooley explained.

“There were a lot of concerns over the costs of the operations, the commitment to education and the lack of respect to the 40 or so people who are involved in putting on the home games.”

Dooley said the Leafs are currently on the hook for paying a fine to BC Hockey for tampering charges by the coaching staff.

He also said day to day operating costs were skyrocketing thanks to numerous trades and adding and cutting of players by the coaching staff.

And the recent losing streak that saw the Leafs lose seven straight games and 14 of 17 since October 31, didn’t help either.

“Management was starring down the barrel of $5,000 fine from BC Hockey for tampering with players as well as the costs associated with moving players on and off the team,” Dooley explained.”

“Costs associated with moving players, travel costs, billeting costs . . . there was a litany of little things that all added up for the executive to make its decision.”

Dooley said he tried to meet with McLellan Wednesday to inform him of the board’s decision.

However, the two parties were unable to connect. Instead, McLellan informed the board via email he was tendering his resignation.

As for Andrusak, who came to the Leafs highly regarded after coaching in the Nelson Minor Hockey ranks, Dooley said the former professional hockey player wanted to stick with “decided work with Dave’s program and stick with it.”

This was a decision Dooley and the board could not live with.

Dooley said the players are taking the news of the change very well.

Wednesday in Spokane, Dooley said his son Sean and assistant coach Stathis Dimopoulos were behind the bench for the Leafs.

The two would remain in those positions until a new regime could be hired.

“We’ve had a number of calls from respectable hockey people in Nelson wanting to help us out,” Dooley said. “Whether it be practice or anything associated with the team.

“So we’re very excited going forward.”

Story originated at The Nelson Daily

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