Troy Leslie to return for his seventh season as GM and head coach
By Lanny Stewart
Head coach and GM Troy Leslie is set to once again head the Oil Caps hockey staff as the organization looks to build off their first ever championship final appearance last season.
Leslie, who joined the Oil Caps back in 2012 when the club moved to Virden, returns for his seventh season behind the bench.
“He’s been here since Day 1 and has been a staple of this organization,” said Jamie Hodson, director of business and hockey operations. “I think he’s looking forward to another great year. We’re going to have a bit of a different team than we had last year, but we’re going to play a similar type of hockey. We’re going to be fast, we’re going to be competitive and we’re going to play four lines deep. I think he’s relishing the opportunity to work with this group.”
“I’m really excited to be back,” Leslie said. “It’s exciting in terms of there’s going to be a lot of teaching off the hop with it being a younger group. There’s going to be a new feel for sure.”
Joining Leslie on the bench will be Tyson Ramsey, who was named an assistant coach back in July. The former coach of the Brandon AAA midget Wheat Kings says he can’t think of a better place to start the next chapter of his coaching journey.
“After the hockey club had such a successful campaign last season, I’m very excited to work with Jamie, Troy and the rest of the staff to take the next step and bring a championship to a community in and around Virden that truly deserves it,” Ramsey said. “I just hope to take all the experiences I’ve gained from working with so many great coaches in the AAA midget program and use that to help the young men in Virden develop as players and people.”
Ramsey has familiarity with the Oil Caps, having been part of the scouting staff last season.
“He has a lot of relationships with our current players, whether he coached them prior to or against, so he’s quite familiar with the organization as a whole,” Hodson said. “We play a fast brand of hockey and we work hard. I think he’ll bring those intangibles as a coach and off the ice, he’s a very personable guy and I think he’ll fit in well in the dressing room.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Potter returns for his fourth season as goaltender coach. Potter, a former junior A goaltender himself, is also back as the club’s video coach for a second consecutive season.
“He always has a good relationship with the goaltenders,” Hodson said. “He helped with the video and organizing that and facilitating that each game last year and his role in that area will be very similar this season.”
“It’s exciting to be able to build on what we completed last year,” Potter said. “Hopefully we can continue to move forward here and have another successful year with the Oil Caps.”
Several familiar faces will also be returning to the club in support staff roles. Hailee Dayman is set for her second season as the club’s athletic therapist and equipment manager. Dayman’s hard work behind the scenes last season didn’t go unnoticed as she was the guest equipment manager during the World Junior A Canada West selection camp last December in Calgary. She also recently helped at the MJHL Prospect Development Camp late July in Winnipeg.
“After an awesome finish to last season, it’s exciting to come back to work with the players and get to know the new ones coming in,” she said. “Working alongside a great staff we have this season I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish as a team this year.”
“I think she learned through the players and the players learned through her as far as how she expects things to be done in the dressing room,” Hodson said. “She did a fabulous job last year. We’re really looking forward to having her on again.”
Patty Hole will also be returning for a second season as the club’s power skating instructor. The owner and operator of a skating school, Hole has more than 35 years experience as a skating coach and her work with the Oil Caps will be even more pivotal this year with the plethora of younger players on the roster, Hodson says.
“I think every guy would say they benefitted from her last season whether they were a 17-year-old or a 20-year-old,” he said. “I think at the beginning of the year it was a bit of a learning curve for the players and for her, but they quickly realized that she’s very professional. She earned respect from the guys really quickly.”
“This year I understand is a younger team and some of them have already been working with me, so we’ll continue on the same path,” Hole said. “It really is amazing what some of these guys can do with their skating. I’m looking forward to another challenging year.”
Brock Davies is also back for a second go-round as the club’s strength and conditioning coach. Davies, the owner of Xcel Strength and Conditioning, demands hard work and it didn’t take long for him to receive the necessary respect from the players, Hodson says.
“He knows his stuff and he worked well within our group. With all our coaching staff and our hockey personnel staff, everyone gets along well. It’s a good cohesive unit and we’re all working towards the common goal of winning a championship and he’s a big part of that puzzle to do that.”
“I’m very excited to be a part of the club again this year,” Davies said. “I’m really looking forward to building on what we accomplished off-ice last year and continuing to help the guys be in the best possible shape for the season.”