Sunday, May 22, 2022

Reports: UNB's MacDougall named interim Sea Dogs head coach

U Sports
A coach with plenty of national championship experience will reportedly guide the Saint John Sea Dogs into the Memorial Cup next month.

Just a few hours after news broke that the Sea Dogs had fired Gordie Dwyer, reports have surfaced saying that Gardiner MacDougall of the University of New Brunswick men's hockey program will take over head coaching duties on an interim basis.
Craig Eagles reported this news in a blog post earlier today. Mikael Lalancette along with Sportsnet's Jeff Mark have also reported the MacDougall news.

As Marek tweeted, the expectation is that this is a temporary hire by the Sea Dogs for the Memorial Cup and then MacDougall will resume his role at UNB.

This has been, to put it lightly, a stunning turn of events.

MacDougall has been the head coach of UNB's men's program for the past 22 seasons, winning seven national championships. There's an argument to be made that he's had a career worthy of a placement in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

MacDougall and the Sea Dogs have less than a month to get familiar with each other and be ready for the team's first Memorial Cup game on June 20. MacDougall is likely quite familiar with Saint John's roster given that he has no doubt been scouting the team for recruiting purposes.

UNB is famous for its intense practices - which the Sea Dogs will be doing nothing but between now and June 20. UNB is also famous for getting players to buy into a system and work harder than the opposing team, a trait the Sea Dogs have struggled with in recent years. That lack of intensity hurt them in the opening round of the playoffs against the Rimouski Oceanic.

Bringing in Thompson as an advisor is a much more common move for a Memorial Cup host in this sort of position. Thompson was recently an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks but stepped down from the role in September because of a medical exemption that did not allow him to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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