Southern Oregon Spartans Fire Head Coach

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Southern Oregon Spartans Fire Head Coach December 27, 2012 2:07 PM

Players Coach. Mike Stanaway was known as one in Southern Oregon.

The thing about many "players coach’s" though is almost always the players end up getting the coach fired. Players can become complacent, they can become too comfotable, and they can loose their will to compete under many of these type of coaches. Strangely though this is not the case for Stanaway.

Amid rumors of player alcohol consumption and players showing up late for scheduled times during the recent Western States Hockey League Showcase in Las Vegas, Mike Stanaway is now out of Southern Oregon. Joe Grimaldi has been named his replacement.

After speaking with players and parents though, it would appear that those rumors of player alcohol use were unfounded.

Information obtained by TJHN has the coaches doing more than average room checks throughout the showcase and garding elevators until 3:00 am in the host hotel. While other WSHL team players were out roaming the lobby and other areas into the late hours, all of the Souther Oregon Spartans were accounted for during the time in which some laid claims that drinking had taken place.

It also does not make sense that this would happen when Stanaway is known to be a coach that drug tests players regularly and has no problem moving players who drink or participate in other improper activity.

Reached by phone Coach Stanaway was reluctant to cast blame on anyone. Coach Stanaway did infom TJHN that recently he had informed Spartans Ownership that he would like a release from the Spartans at the end of the current season. As recently as Monday December 23rd Stanaway was assured that he would finish out the season in Southern Oregon. Suddenly on the 26th Stanaway received a call from ownership that he was being relieved of his duties. Merry Christmas!

Stanaway has done more than many Tier III coaches while in Southern Oregon. He lead the team to the NORPAC Championship last season, and has promoted many players on to NCAA and Tier II programs. Why then would ownership make a move like this?

To understand you need to look at the ownership structure of Southern Oregon. There are three owners. All three are hands on type and like to be involved with the team. Two of them think they are capable of acting as General Managers. While owners have a right to do what ever they want with their teams, why would you mess with success?

It would make sense that considering Stanaway requested a release at the end of the season that owners may look to get their own person into position right away. However, sitting in third place in the WSHL Pacific Division with nine games in hand on second place Ogden, and four games in hand on first place Idaho, Southern Oregon was in great position behind Stanaway to climd into second place and begin a roll toward the playoffs.

Southern Oregon Ownership may have just ended any hope of a playoff run for its players by making this move. When players are saying drinking did not take place, yet the coach is no longer there, players will no longer trust ownership.

If ownership is not trusted, players will look for new opportunity, and they have already begun to do so. Many players have already begun reaching out to USA Hockey sanctioned programs. Because the WSHL is an AAU league, players can move to any Tier III USA Hockey team without having to seek a release.

Fortunately for Coach Stanaway his record and reputation for promoting players should have him back on the bench shortly. Several teams are already making offers and we would expect that within a day or two Coach Stanaway will be preparing new practice plans and facing new challenges.

As for Southern Oregon? Only time will tell if this move is one that will pay off.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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