Monday, December 1, 2008

I Knew Something Was Up..

I got the feeling from Cougars head coach Drew Schoneck last Saturday that something was up.
It's like he could see it was just a matter of when.
He didn't tip his hand during a pre-game chat, but looking back now, you can see that he knew the end was near. Schoneck, who was an assistant coach for two seasons with the Kelowna Rockets in 1997-1998 and again in 1998-1999, was fired today as the head coach of the Prince George Cougars.
Even the chatter in the press box from two off-ice officials prior to last Saturday's 6-2 Rockets win over the Cougars with the suggestion that the coach could be canned if the home team lost, had you wondering if something in fact was up.
Now that Schoneck has been cut loose, I will admit I feel bad for a coach who was never the root of the problem with what ails the Prince George Cougars.
That is clearly obvious even from 700 kilometers away.
But when a team struggles, the coach becomes the easy target. It's clearly the case in this situation. Scouting has played a huge factor in why the Cougars sit outside of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, yet management took a method used just over two years ago by firing the coach. It was November 1/2006 when the Cougars fired Mike Vandekamp and assistant Stew Malgunus.
And while the Cougars organization will be slagged in the media for this latest move, lets remember they gave Schoneck something he desperately wanted - the chance to become a head coach at the WHL level . Schoneck got his opportunity, and like the class act he was during his tenure, he will leave the situation with dignity knowing that he will resurface in the game at a later date better for what he endured over the last 2 plus seasons.
The firing won't win brownie points with Cougars season ticket holders, for they too know Schoneck was not the true cause of the teams struggles in the standings. And if you think Schoneck's dismissal will provide even a more negative attitude towards the Cougars in the minds of hockey fans in that city, remember their is no where to go but up when you've already hit rock bottom in the popularity polls.

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