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A new assistant coach is in Town for Aurora Tigers

May 21, 2020   ·   0 Comments

The Aurora Tigers have kicked off their offseason plans with a bang.

The Junior A hockey club has hired former Newfoundland Growlers defenceman Robert Powers, of the East Coast Hockey League, as the team’s new assistant coach this past week.

Head coach Jim Wells Jr. says the local team was looking to bolster defence.

“Because we knew the strength of our current staff, I was looking for somebody who had played the position of defence,” he says. “I was looking for somebody who was university educated and had recently played at the university, NCAA level. I was looking for somebody who was also younger.”

The 25-year-old Powers has spent the past two years in the ECHL. Previously, the Ajax native attended Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, playing at the NCAA level.

Powers, also brings quite the Ontario Junior Hockey League resume to the table.

He spent three years in the OJHL with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Stouffville Spirit and the Toronto Patriots, winning the RBC Cup and the Dudley Hewitt Cup with the Patriots in 2013-2014.

Team owner Jim Thomson says he believes Wells has filled a necessary void within the organization that has been vacant since he purchased the club.

“In the five years I’ve had the team, I’ve never had a guy that actually played pro defence to teach the defenceman,” says Thomson. “I believe Jim Wells has hit a home run here in bringing in a guy to teach our defenceman how to play like a pro.”

Thomson says being a defenceman is a unique animal and you need someone who has played the position to construct a reputable game plan that will improve the players.

It is a positive direction for the club, which ranked 22nd overall in goals against last season, it’s exciting to bring in not only a former pro, but someone who understands the league.

“When you spent the time he spent in our league going to a Royal Bank Cup, playing for a great coach in Jason Fortier, the guy knows how to play defence and he’s going to know how to relay that at our level to our defence,” Thomson says.

Choosing someone young was what Wells wanted. He wanted someone who can come into this team with a different mindset and the willingness to challenge him with a whole new approach on the game plan.

Bringing in a younger defenceman is a healthy approach to recognize the differences within the league in years past and present. Wells is adamant on being a flexible coach, not someone stuck in his old ways.

“I never want to be a coach that is perceived stuck in his ways and old school. I think you need to be able to; as much as players have to adapt to the coach, the coach has to adapt to the players,” explains Wells.

Most of the players on the roster also have the same aspirations as Powers.

Players want the opportunity to be able to earn scholarships and live in the United States to play NCAA. Powers sits at the forefront not just in teaching, but with his connections in the NCAA when other schools come to recruit players.

Matt Command will remain as the associate coach working on the offence with Wells while Powers moves in to reconstruct the defensive side of the puck.

By Robert Belardi



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