EDIT: The coaching change is now entirely confirmed (it was before but I hadn't talked to anyone in Duncan) as I just finished interviewing Dale Purinton. Expect that interview in part before our broadcast and in full during the first intermission on Nelson Ford Trail Smoke Eaters play by play. If you aren't in Mountain FM's broadcast area check out our broadcast on our website www.mountainfm.net.
Word broke this afternoon on the BCHL message board that the Cowichan Valley Capitals have fired Head Coach Scott Robinson after a long tenure in Duncan. He's been apparently replaced by former NHL tough guy Dale Purinton. I will say first of all that I have not talked to the Capitals organization and I don't have official confirmation from them that this has happened. However, I'd say I'm over 99% sure that the reports are accurate.
While Cowichan has struggled out of the gate this season, let us not forget the success the club had last year. Robinson took them to a 30-20-1-5 record good enough for third in the conference and second in their division. He also took them to within a game of the conference finals. They were also third in the conference three seasons ago. It seems like Robinson had the team rebuild one year and succeed the next on a regular basis. Even had the Caps in first place once quite a few years aback. For a team that doesn't have the riches that some others do in this league, that is a pretty darn good success rate. However, their struggles early this season under a new majority owner apparently were not acceptable to management. Tonight's game will officially complete one quarter of the season for the Caps. They're 4-9-0-1 right now and one of the few teams from the coast to have done the full four game road trip to the interior... a road trip that I personally believe will lead to a lot of 1-3 and 0-4 records for coast teams this year. The Capitals took a major hit on that road swing with a couple of huge losses. Them being one of the first teams to make that trip this year is perhaps a big factor in that record and Robinson being fired.
I don't know the coast that well nor do I know Robinson that well. He's been very friendly and easy to talk to the two or three times I've had to deal with him. I also know Smokies Coach Jim Ingram obviously speaks very highly of him after serving under him as an assistant coach several years ago. It's never fun to see a good man lose his job. It impacts more than just him but his family, friends and the community. I'm sure he'll land on his feet.
As for Dale Purinton taking over, I have no idea what to expect. He just finished his playing career in 2007-08. It included 181 NHL games with the New York Rangers. He was known as a tough guy who always worked hard. What kind of coach he'll be at this level is impossible to predict now. What I can say though is that often a coaching change like this can serve as a major kick in the butt for a team. We should see an emotional and fired up Caps squad tonight as they try to make an impression on their new coach. Trail is going to have to be on their best if the boys are hoping for a second straight road win.
Our pre-game show gets started at 7:15pm tonight with the puck drop at 7:30 for Nelson Ford Trail Smoke Eaters play by play on Mountain FM.
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