Jesse Dorrans is no longer head coach and general manager of the Grand Forks Border Bruins.
On Thursday, a report on the hockey club’s website said that Dorrans had been relieved of his duties and the club would actively pursue an experienced head coach and GM for the 2011/12 season.
“We asked him as a board, what his plans were for the future, how he saw himself fitting into this program and he informed us, at our last board meeting, that he would not be putting his name in the hat to be the head coach and general manager for next season,” explained Tom Frith, assistant coach and director of hockey operations.
“As a board, we felt the morale of the team was slipping, we thought we needed to stop the bleeding, as far as spirit and morale, and it was probably best for us to allow him to carry on away from the Border Bruins – it’s pretty tough to be motivated when you already know you’re not going to be back.”
Frith said that wasn’t the way the board wanted the season to end for the club, as the fans deserved more, and more importantly, so did the players. However the Border Bruins’ assistant coach was complimentary about the job that Dorrans did in his time in Grand Forks.
“I thought he came in, I thought he gave it everything he had. We’re a young team, he’s a young coach; there’s a lot of learning for all,” said Frith.
“We’re not disappointed with the effort that he gave, we feel that he gave all he had.”
Contrary to rumours around town, Frith said that Dorrans was not fired, as he was paid out.
“We accepted his resignation, expedited it by nine games and paid him out in full, so basically he got a paid vacation,” he said. “I think it’s pretty respectful as far as an organization is concerned.”
As for a replacement, the team will go head coach by committee, for the remainder of the season, with Frith, assistant coach Matt Zamec and board member Ward Faust on the bench.
Frith said that a single person would be selected to fill the position of head coach and general manager next season and that there already had been significant interest. He also said that experience in the Junior B level – particularly the Kootenay International Junior Hockey level – or better would be an asset for potential candidates.
“So much of this coaching, as we’ve learned and as we’ve seen, is not so much just the recruiting and the on-ice, it’s the entire part and parcel,” said Frith.
“Controlling the room, the emotions of the players, gelling the kids. You get 20 kids coming from other areas, coming here with different personalities and lifestyles and it can get away from a coach very quickly.”
He pointed to lack of Junior B head coaching experience as one of Dorrans’ weaknesses, though he also said, Dorrans’ fundamental hockey knowledge was good.
In two seasons with the Grand Forks Border Bruins, Dorrans went 13-75-1-2.
Dorrans could not be reached for comment.
After an 8-2 home loss to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Thursday night, the Grand Forks Border Bruins gave a better effort in the next two games against the Kelowna Chiefs on Saturday and the Princeton Posse on Sunday, unfortunately the home team came out on the short end, losing both games by a final of 6-4.
Defenceman Brendan Jackson was suspended three games for an incident that took place in Saturday’s game against Kelowna.
He received game misconducts and two fights in the same stoppage and has already served one game – he will be eligible to return in a game against Beaver Valley on Saturday, Feb. 5.