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Yarmouth Mariners name TJ Smith as new head coach and GM

TJ Smith, Yarmouth Mariners head coach and general manager. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
TJ Smith, Yarmouth Mariners head coach and general manager. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

The Yarmouth Mariners ownership has announced that TJ Smith has been hired as head coach and general manager of the team.

On Friday, Jan. 2, the Mariners management had fired head coach Jim Bottomley, who had been hired in May.

A native of St. Anthony, Newfoundland, the 29-year-old Smith brings with him a solid background of experience, says Mariners owner and president Mitch Bonnar.

 “I have been involved in the MHL for the past 10 years as a player, coach and scout,” says Smith. “I am extremely passionate about the MHL and ecstatic to have the opportunity to coach a great team in such a passionate hockey community as Yarmouth”.

Smith played three full years with the Truro Junior A Bearcats as a high-scoring forward. He amassed 181 points in 163 games played and was part of two MHL championships in 2005 and 2007.

Smith had a brief stint of NCAA Division 1 hockey before returning to the Truro Junior A Bearcats as an assistant coach for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons, where he coached with head coach Shawn Evans.

Smith served as head coach of the Eastern Shore Junior B Mariners for two years before becoming an assistant coach of the Valley Junior A Wildcats. He was also appointed as head coach of the Valley Major Midget Wildcats team. He held both of these positions when he accepted the head coach position with the Mariners.

The first game following Smith's hiring and Bottomley's firing is a Friday, Jan. 9 home game for the Mariners against the Valley Wildcats, the team Smith has worked with as an assistant coach.

As for the rest of the Mariners bench, John Murphy will remain as assistant coach of the Mariners and will assume the role of assistant GM. Kyle Boudreau recently joined the team as assistant coach. Boudreau’s last coaching position was with the Yarmouth high school Vikings varsity team and before that he was involved in junior C.

Many Yarmouth fans were surprised by the Mariners management decision on Friday to fire Bottomley, whose hiring – and his years of experience in the MHL – had been heralded by the team last spring. Players held a team meeting Saturday as they absorbed the news.

In a Jan. 2 statement Bonnar had said, “Jim Bottomley was fired as head coach/general manager due to numerous repetitive actions contrary to his employment agreement (there was no reference to these actions in the statement) and directly contravening an instruction to have the players return from the Christmas break on Dec 29 to attend scheduled practice on the 30th and 31st. Three players returned on the 29th, two more on the 30th and the balance returned the evening of Jan 1st.”

Yarmouth’s first game after the Christmas break was a 5-4 loss to the division last-place Amherst Ramblers on Friday, Jan. 2. Bottomley’s dismissal came after that game.

The Mariners have a record of 17 wins, 10 losses and three shootout losses following the Jan. 2 game. With 37 points, the team sits in second place in the Eastlink Division behind the Pictou County Weeks Crushers who have 45 points, and ahead of the Truro Bearcats, who have 34 points.

The Mariners have been through a lot of coaching changes over the past year. Last spring head coach Laurie Barron was let go after a second year where the team failed to go deep in the playoffs. In December assistant coach Timothy Garden-Cole left the team when he was accepted into the RCMP.

Meanwhile, as for the Valley teams that Smith is leaving behind, he will be replaced internally by Jeff O’Flaherty on the Valley Wildcats Major Midget team.

“With the juniors, TJ wasn’t around a whole lot anyway due to his responsibilities with the midgets, so we’re going to stay the status quo,” said Wildcats head coach Nick Greenough. “We’re going to continue on as normal.”

Greenough isn’t concerned that having Smith behind the bench will give the Mariners an edge when the two teams will face off for the first time Jan. 9 in Yarmouth.

“I don’t think it will be a problem – everyone does a lot of pre-scouting anyway,” Greenough said. “I think I can still throw some curve balls at him.”

 

 

 

On Friday, Jan. 2, the Mariners management had fired head coach Jim Bottomley, who had been hired in May.

A native of St. Anthony, Newfoundland, the 29-year-old Smith brings with him a solid background of experience, says Mariners owner and president Mitch Bonnar.

 “I have been involved in the MHL for the past 10 years as a player, coach and scout,” says Smith. “I am extremely passionate about the MHL and ecstatic to have the opportunity to coach a great team in such a passionate hockey community as Yarmouth”.

Smith played three full years with the Truro Junior A Bearcats as a high-scoring forward. He amassed 181 points in 163 games played and was part of two MHL championships in 2005 and 2007.

Smith had a brief stint of NCAA Division 1 hockey before returning to the Truro Junior A Bearcats as an assistant coach for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons, where he coached with head coach Shawn Evans.

Smith served as head coach of the Eastern Shore Junior B Mariners for two years before becoming an assistant coach of the Valley Junior A Wildcats. He was also appointed as head coach of the Valley Major Midget Wildcats team. He held both of these positions when he accepted the head coach position with the Mariners.

The first game following Smith's hiring and Bottomley's firing is a Friday, Jan. 9 home game for the Mariners against the Valley Wildcats, the team Smith has worked with as an assistant coach.

As for the rest of the Mariners bench, John Murphy will remain as assistant coach of the Mariners and will assume the role of assistant GM. Kyle Boudreau recently joined the team as assistant coach. Boudreau’s last coaching position was with the Yarmouth high school Vikings varsity team and before that he was involved in junior C.

Many Yarmouth fans were surprised by the Mariners management decision on Friday to fire Bottomley, whose hiring – and his years of experience in the MHL – had been heralded by the team last spring. Players held a team meeting Saturday as they absorbed the news.

In a Jan. 2 statement Bonnar had said, “Jim Bottomley was fired as head coach/general manager due to numerous repetitive actions contrary to his employment agreement (there was no reference to these actions in the statement) and directly contravening an instruction to have the players return from the Christmas break on Dec 29 to attend scheduled practice on the 30th and 31st. Three players returned on the 29th, two more on the 30th and the balance returned the evening of Jan 1st.”

Yarmouth’s first game after the Christmas break was a 5-4 loss to the division last-place Amherst Ramblers on Friday, Jan. 2. Bottomley’s dismissal came after that game.

The Mariners have a record of 17 wins, 10 losses and three shootout losses following the Jan. 2 game. With 37 points, the team sits in second place in the Eastlink Division behind the Pictou County Weeks Crushers who have 45 points, and ahead of the Truro Bearcats, who have 34 points.

The Mariners have been through a lot of coaching changes over the past year. Last spring head coach Laurie Barron was let go after a second year where the team failed to go deep in the playoffs. In December assistant coach Timothy Garden-Cole left the team when he was accepted into the RCMP.

Meanwhile, as for the Valley teams that Smith is leaving behind, he will be replaced internally by Jeff O’Flaherty on the Valley Wildcats Major Midget team.

“With the juniors, TJ wasn’t around a whole lot anyway due to his responsibilities with the midgets, so we’re going to stay the status quo,” said Wildcats head coach Nick Greenough. “We’re going to continue on as normal.”

Greenough isn’t concerned that having Smith behind the bench will give the Mariners an edge when the two teams will face off for the first time Jan. 9 in Yarmouth.

“I don’t think it will be a problem – everyone does a lot of pre-scouting anyway,” Greenough said. “I think I can still throw some curve balls at him.”

 

 

 

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