Bill Bestwick has been brought in as the new head coach of the Save-on-Foods Oceanside Generals.
Bestwick was mpost recently the head coach and general manager for the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, a stint which ended abruptly in early December. The move came as a bit of a surprise due to the success that Bestwick was having as the head coach of the team, which was sitting third in the BCHL at the time he was let go.
The availability of Bestwick was something that was too good to pass up, according to the GM of the Generals, Lou Gravel. In doing so, the club parted ways with Dan Lemmon, who took over as head coach less than two months ago.
“I think that Dan did an incredible job with being put in the position that he was in. But that being said, when you have a chance to get a guy like Bill Bestwick, it’s something you don’t pass on,” Gravel said about the coaching change.
Bestwick brings in an excellent winning resume as a head coach over the last 20 years. He spent several seasons as the head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL, as well as general manager, owner and several other titles during his time with the Clippers.
One of the more successful seasons Bestwick had as a coach came in 2003–04, where the Clippers captured both the BCHL and Doyle Cup championships.
Currently living in Nanaimo and a member of Nanaimo City Council, Bestwick also recently took on an advisory role with the Clippers in addition to being named the new head coach of the Generals.
“Our relationship in the past has been as competitors,” said Bestwick about joining the Clippers and working closely with their head coach Mike Vandekamp. “I think there is probably a mutual understanding that we’ve been competitors and we’ve been adversarial more than being on the same side, but there will be adjustments made along the way.”
Starting with the Generals Jan. 2, Bestwick got right to work with the team, meeting with them for several hours before their first practice under their new head coach last Thursday night.
“We’ve been learning a lot of new things and it’s been good having Bill Bestwick as the guy teaching you,” captain Travis Flug said. “He has so much experience, you can just feel everything in his emotions. It’s a great opportunity for us hear in the locker room and we’re really excited about it.”
With two games under his belt as head coach of the Generals, Bestwick is optimistic. He’s also not saying wheteher he will be around the Generals past the six weeks left in this regular season to help with off-season recruitment or continue to coach the Generals next season
“It’s a lot of fun. These kids in the last three days have bought in and really worked hard over their last six periods of hockey. I have a passion for the game and being around these kids is fun and if I can help them a little bit with what it takes to play at this level, and any level above this, would be great. It’s too early to tell what will happen after the season. I’m just focused on working with these kids to the end of this season. It would be nice to get some wins here and see if we can maybe sneak into the post season. So we’ll see what happens.”