With the team hovering near the .500 mark and lacking a focused direction, head coach and general manager Brad Knight has stepped away from the Victoria Grizzlies.
The decision to leave the team came out of a Sunday meeting, Grizzlies president John Wilson said at the team’s office inside The Q Centre on Monday. The meeting was to include himself, Knight and vice-president of hockey operations Don Robinson, but by the time Wilson arrived, he said, Knight had already tendered his resignation.
Craig Didmon, who took over the team on an interim basis last season and led the Grizzlies to the B.C. Hockey League three-team round robin semifinal, was installed for the rest of this season, but only as head coach. The business side of things will be handled by a committee of team executive members.
“We look forward to having him back with the boys on the ice and creating a positive atmosphere and hopefully some more Ws in the games,” Wilson said of Didmon.
Also the head of Belmont secondary’s hockey academy, Didmon was originally going to take a full year off for personal and family reasons, but said he’s ready to settle back into his previous role albeit without the weight of the GM’s position. Scott Hawthorne remains as assistant coach, but fellow assistant coach Micah Aivazoff has chosen to step down.
Didmon doesn’t see the players’ effort as the issue affecting the finishing off of close games or protecting leads.
“The kids have been working hard. (With a) little more strategy, a little more game plan and a little more preparation, we can create some more confidence,” he said. “I think we’re just about there. There’s been a lot of one-goal games, so hopefully just a little more passion on the part of the players and I think we can be just that one goal better.”
The Grizzlies plan to sign Nick Guiney of the Westshore Wolves immediately. He is one player Didmon committed to previously.
The Grizzlies next game is in Duncan, where they’ll try to avenge a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Capitals last week at The Q Centre. They host Merritt at home on Saturday at 7 p.m.