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Terriers announce new coaching staff line up

The Yorkton Terrier hockey club announced Friday the coaching roster which will guide the team in the 2010-'11 season.
Terrier president, centre, is flanked by team head coach Trent Cassan, left and general manager Don Chesney, right, at a press conference Friday announcing the staff positions.

The Yorkton Terrier hockey club announced Friday the coaching roster which will guide the team in the 2010-'11 season.

Trent Cassan, who became the team's interim coach with eight games left in the regular season after Ed Zawatsky was fired, was handed the full-time head coaching duties after taking the team on an extended playoff run.

Cassan will also be the team's associate general manager.

"Today, I'm glad to announce that we have Trent Cassan continuing on with the team as Head Coach and Associate General Manager. Trent proved this past season that he has leadership qualities, the respect of the players and can handle the coaching duties of the team very well," announced club president Lyle Walsh at a press conference at the Gallagher Centre Friday.

Cassan said he "didn't have anything written out," in terms of the announcement, but wanted to thank the executive "for giving me the opportunity."

Having played with the Terriers as a Junior, and starting his coaching career as assistant to Zawatsky, Cassan said he "enjoys everything about the community and team," so it's the place to be head coach. " It's exciting."

Cassan said as a relative newcomer to coaching with only two years as assistant it is "an experience seeing where it would take me."

Coaching for Cassan has quickly become a passion.

"Each day coming to the rink, it doesn't seem like a job," he said. "When you get up in the morning excited to go at something you're going to do your best."

In the past the head coach has also been the team's general manager, but Walsh said the executive reassessed the dual role.

"In structuring our team we identified all area where we could use strengths. We realized that all the responsibilities of a joint Coach/GM can have time limitations and not allow an individual the ability to do everything," he said.

"To do that we decided to move forward with a General Manager as well, this individual would be responsible for the entire marketing aspects of the team as well," Walsh said the club wanted someone with experience as GM.

"We wanted someone with experience, someone who knows the league, has been actively involved in player recruitment and a person who could offer some past experiences to our new coach."

To fill the role the Terriers have turned to a familiar face.

"The person who could fit this description is local, proven and ready to get at it. So I announce that Don Chesney will assume the position of General Manager and in charge of marketing for the Yorkton Terriers," said Walsh.

Chesney said he signed to play Junior in 1970, and has remained in the game for 40-years, and now he gets "back in the game," with his hometown Terriers, a team he won Coach of the Year honours with only a few seasons earlier.

"I'm still pretty flattered to be in the game and be able to contribute," he said.

For Chesney it is a case of being back with many familiar faces, having coached Cassan, worked with Director of Scouting & Player Personnel Gary Carson in the past, and having teamed with the team's full time assistant coach going back to the Labret Eagles.

The third man of the coaching staff will be Dan McKay, who joined Cassan at season end as assistant coach, and he will return for the new season.

In terms of Cassan as head coach, Chesney was hugely supportive saying he was "six cylinders out of the eight cylinder motor," of the team.

Chesney said when he coached Cassan, "he worked very hard. When things weren't going well he took it upon himself in the room, and on the ice to turn it around."

As for his role as GM, Chesney said he arrives on the scene with some good prospects already on the Terrier radar.

"The list is pretty good," he said of the team's protected player list.

The Terriers do have holes to fill, with eight players graduating at season end.

"The biggest thing we have to have is some patience," said Chesney. "Nowadays you have to be able teach the kids This year will be a patient year."

Cassan is happy the position is split, noting the time commitment to do both is daunting, especially during the season itself. He said if a player is in a game in another community in the heat of the season, a full-time GM can go to the game to view the game, and he can stay focused on coaching.

"A lot of things go into the job behind the scenes people don't see," he said, adding Chesney is "a guy I can learn from."

"Again it was believed experience was an asset, a proven track record was an asset and someone who could work closely with the players another definite asset," said Walsh.

Cassan said he is pleased McKay is back.

"We worked together last year," he said.

Walsh said the three individuals for a group the club feels can take the Terriers to a successful season this fall.

"So together with Don Chesney, Trent Cassan and Danny McKay, we feel we have a very strong team of individuals who can add lots to the team and have our players ready and performing in a very competitive, motivated atmosphere that should see our hockey team do well again next season," he said.

The deals are one-year contracts, with an option year, for the three individuals, said Walsh.