It’s official: the Dave Johnston era with the Oceanside Generals is over, as he and the local, community-owned junior hockey club have parted ways.
Just over three months after issuing a press release announcing Johnston had renewed his contract through the 2012/2013 season, the club has released the longtime GM and head coach, citing a new direction.
“Basically we had our AGM the end of May and it was actually really positive. We had a huge turnout,” said Oceanside Generals Junior Hockey Club’s new president Sylvain Giroux when The News caught up with him.
Giroux pointed out the club now has 15 board members — 12 of those new to the board with three returnees, and that “the board felt we needed a change, that’s about it.
“Everybody feels really positive — it’s going to be a great year,” he said, adding “the idea was we needed a facelift, to just keep moving on forward, keeping everything positive and building for next year.
“We want to bring in more fans, we want to get more sponsorship, we want to do more for the community … it’s a new era for the Generals,” he said.
A local contractor out of Qualicum Beach, Giroux, who has two teenage sons (both goalies) playing high level hockey, was vice president of the club two years ago. He stepped away from the club last year, and was nominated for president this year “and I accepted.”
The board, he said, has since formed a coach-hiring committee that is in the process of interviewing possible replacements.
“We’ve got a half a dozen applicants, and we should be announcing a new head coach within in a couple weeks,” said Giroux, adding the new coach will help hire his assistants.
Contacted Thursday, Johnston, who guided the local Jr. B club to it’s only three Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League championships (1992, 1997 and 2009) and a bronze medal at the Cyclone Taylor Cup in ‘09, seemed at ease with the decision and in fact was on his way to a meeting with an unnamed BC Hockey League club to go over their offer.
“The new board decided to go in a new direction,” Johnston confirmed, adding, “was it out of left field for me? No.”
The Generals held their annual spring Prospect Camp June 8-10. Johnston was not present for that, but former player and assistant coach Jason Dubyna was brought in to oversee it.
“It was a big success — we had 62 kids show up, so that was good,” said Giroux.
The Generals signed two players, both forwards from Nanaimo, out of that camp — 17-year-old Will McNamara, and Shane Dial, 18.
“It’s going to be fun. We’ve got a lot of really gung-ho people on the board that really want to work hard, so yeah, it’s going to be a good year,” said Giroux.
Dubyna, who served as Gens’ head coach at the start of last season before Johnston fired him and took over, was on June 15, named head coach of the North Island Silvertips of the BC Major Midget League.
The Generals will be hosting their main training camp Aug. 17-19 at Oceanside Place. Looking ahead, the team’s VIJHL regular season home opener is Sept. 8 against the Campbell River Storm.