Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bohmer Resigns, Quesnel Goons?

So we now have the first coaching change in the BCHL this season. According to the Quesnel website Coach and GM Tom Bohmer stepped down on Monday night. Bohmer was 7 games short of completing his third season with the Mills. I had a chance to chat with a member of the Quesnel board on Mountain FM's Overtime tonight.

Geoff Ruffle, Director/Media Relations for the Quesnel Millionaires

Click here to download

There's a separate interview with Ruffle at Brian's Making Cents Blog. He actually did his interview first, but I hadn't noticed until I conducted mine. We bloggers are on top of things!

Bohmer wasn't able to get Quesnel into the playoffs during his three year run with the team. This will be the sixth consecutive season for the Mills without a post-season birth. Clearly things didn't go as planned. However, I think it's important to note that there was some progress for the hockey club during his time there. Here's the breakdown of his run...

06-07: 8-47-0-5, 149 GF, 305 GA
07-08: 19-36-0-5, 175 GF, 254 GA
08-09: 15-35-0-3, 142 GF, 235 GA

From his first to his second season Bohmer more than doubled his team's win total (increased it by 11), cut the goal differential in half (-156 to -79), and built a team that was a whole lot tougher to play against.

So what happened this season? Why didn't the Millionaires take another leap forward? Things actually started pretty well for Quesnel. They went 4-5-0-1 in September including back to back wins over Salmon Arm and an 11-4 blow out of Trail. In that month they scored 32 goals and gave up 33.

So what happened? Two games into October star goaltender and Quesnel's MVP Jeff Malcom went down with a serious long term injury. The Mills went on to lose 8 out of the first 10 games the played without him. Obviously Bohmer failed to provide an adequate back up or solution to the goaltending situation at that time, but any team is going to take a hit when they lose their MVP. That may sound like an excuse, but where would Quesnel be at this point if they had Malcom for the whole season? They are 18 points behind Prince George now. How much closer would they be? Remembering also that the confidence and will to win obviously took a massive hit after the injury. Remembering also that Quesnel traded their best forwards at the trade deadline and have not been as competitive since that time. I think it's reasonable to suggest they'd be within reach of a playoff spot at this point if Malcom had been healthy for the whole season.

However, he wasn't and Quesnel didn't have the depth to make up for it. Bohmer takes the fall for that, but I truly believe he took some positive steps in a very tough position. They have one of the worst buildings in the league and play in a cold, remote location. This is not exactly the easiest sell for recruiting. How many players refused to play for Quesnel after trades? It's a tough job and Bohmer did do some good things. Trevor Hertz and Jeff Malcom are two examples of some great players who have come out of his program there.

Bohmer resigned for what the Mills say are personal reasons. The resignation comes on the same day that he was suspended indefinitely for all the fights (and the injury to star Denver Manderson) in the Penticton game. Tom Bohmer has been accused by some of gooning it up as a coach. Penticton coach Fred Harbinson ripped him and the Quesnel organization so hard that he got fined for it by the BCHL. So is it true?

I went through the last two months of game action comparing Quesnel with a randomly selected Interior team. My results show that Quesnel at least didn't fight anymore than Westside did. Take a look for yourself:


Dec 5: one misconduct
Dec 6: seven fights, six misconducts
Dec 7: nothing
Dec 10: one fight
Dec 12: nothing
Dec 13: nothing
Dec 19: two fights, one misconduct
Dec 20: two fights, one misconduct
Dec 21: nothing
Jan 2: one misconduct
Jan 3: two fights, one misconduct
Jan 9: one fight
Jan 17: one fight
Jan 18: one misconduct
Jan 23: nothing
Jan 24: nothing
Jan 29: three fights including a one sided fighting major and misconduct
Jan 30: ten fights, nine misconducts
Jan 31: three fights

19 games: 32 fights, 22 misconducts

1.68 fights per game, 1.16 misconducts per game


Dec 3: nothing
Dec 5: two fights
Dec 9: two fights
Dec 12: three fights, four misconducts
Dec 13: nine fights, five misconducts
Dec 14: three fights, one misconduct
Dec 19: nothing
Jan 2: four fights, two misconducts
Jan 3: one fight, one misconduct
Jan 4: one fight, two misconducts
Jan 9: nothing
Jan 10: two fights
Jan 11: nothing
Jan 16: three fights, one misconduct
Jan 23: one fight
Jan 24: one fight
Jan 29: two fights
Jan 31: one misconduct

18 games: 34 fights, 17 misconducts

1.9 fights per game, 0.94 misconducts per game

So the Warriors actually fight more than Quesnel. Would anyone suggest Westside is a goon squad? I know I certainly wouldn't. To be fair I will note that Quesnel had two "gong show" games (one seven fight game and one ten fight game) while Westside only had one (a nine fight game) of those over the same two months.

Quesnel also ranks 10th in the BCHL in total times shorthanded. That's middle of the pack so they aren't taking a huge number of minor penalties in there.

This isn't a perfect science by any means. However I have to ask, have the Mills been a goon squad, or is this a frustrated group that let their emotions get the best of them after a fall out of playoff contention and a lopsided game in Penticton?

I don't know what Bohmer did or didn't say to his players during that game. All I can do is look at the numbers and try to draw some conclusions from them. Decide for yourselves.

What I do know is that Tom Bohmer was always very friendly and accommodating to me in my dealings with him. A coach is out of work today and his first head coaching gig in the BCHL has ended up as a disappointment. It's a sad day and I wish Bohmer all the best in wherever life takes him next. I also genuinely hope that the next full time coach of the Millionaires can help lead the franchise back to the playoffs. Their long suffering fan base deserves it.

NOTES: Ryan Pinder broke the news that the brawls with Quesnel may lead to the end of Denver Manderson's season. That's horrible news for a Penticton team that appears to have all the skill necessary to take a serious run at Vernon or Salmon Arm. The loss of Manderson is a massive blow to those chances. You can understand why that kind of injury could get tempers flaring over in Penticton. I hope Manderson makes a speedy recovery. He's one of the league's best.

Speaking of injuries, I may have some more bad news to report within the next twenty four hours.

I'm also going to post a poll on the new Smokies third jersey so we can get some idea what you all think of the new and obviously very different look.

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