General manager Jesse Hammill, left, will step into the head coaching role for the Oceanside Generals Junior B hockey club for the coming season, while former coach Gerry Bickerton, right, takes over as president of the Generals Hockey Society. — NEWS file photo

Generals head coach Bickerton steps down to become president

Hammil to take over coaching chores while also serving as general manager

The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals have shuffled their administration as they prepare for their next Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.

Topping the list of changes was Gerry Bickerton’s resignation as head coach. He was handed a new role as president at the Generals’ annual general meeting held on May 8.

Jesse Hammill, who was hired midway through last season as general manager, has agreed to take over the head coaching responsibility. He will also continue to serve as general manager.

The Generals are also bringing back last season’s assistant coaches, Chris Lennox and Scott Bickerton.

“They are a few changes which we think are all positive and hopefully it’s gonna reflect that next season moving forward,” said Bickerton.

Hammill is no stranger to coaching, said Gerry Bickerton. He has been involved with hockey since a very young age. He played at all levels of minor and junior hockey before pursuing a professional career in Europe where he both coached and managed.

Bickerton said they’re aiming to be a lot more competitive next season and hoping to win more games.

“It’s important for us to have a full culture change, both off and on the ice,” said Bickerton

“There’s a lot of stuff and reasons why I made the move that I did to push the organization forward from an off-ice standpoint and basically get Jesse to push it from an on-ice standpoint. So we will see a lot of changes from both areas. It’s going to be a lot of work but we are really excited for it.”

The Generals have been busy recruiting players as well. They recently got commitments from two defencemen, Erik Hanus, who played with the North Island Silvertips of the BC Major Midget League, and Brandon Hannibal, who last year played for the Nanaimo Clippers Midget Tier 1 and was an affiliate player with the Generals where he played eight games.

Hanus, who stands at six foot five inches, could be an imposing figure on the Generals’ blue line. He is a strong, physical defenseman who can bring a steady supply of hard work and team play. Hannibal is a 5’7 smooth skater who sees the ice well and can execute great first passes.

The Generals will hold their main camp August 11-13.

Bickerton said he expects some of his veteran players to return but he won’t know for sure until they find out results of their Junior A tryouts.

“We as an organization want our players to progress to the next level,” said Bicketon.

During the course of the summer, the Generals plan to take part in some of the community events that include the Canada Day Parade on July 1 and helping at Beach Fest in August.

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