Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Submitted by Ellie-Marie Watts
The roles and responsibilities of the Newcastle Northstars coach will be shared between Joey Theriault, Ray Sheffield and Garry Doré in 2018, coming as part of a new associate coaching program that will be continued into the future.
The program is performance focused, to benefit coaches and players, and will see all associate coaching staff part of the decision-making and accountability for the AIHL team.
Doré, who has been general manager of the Northstars since 2002, said the program has not been a spur of the moment decision.
"I have to look at the future because we're going to be here for a long time," he said.
"This program is something I firmly believe in.
"I didn't really believe that bringing a new head coach out every couple of years and burning that person out was really the right way to go.
"I was more concerned on 'how can we develop coaches as well as develop players?'
"Therefore, we decided to take the associate coaching program pathway.
"There's a few reasons for that. One of them is so that we don't rely on one person to make all the decisions.
"You often see a head coach with a couple of assistants. But what we're looking at is all the associate coaches are constructive in the development of the team.
"Coaches who now join the Northstars team have to be part of the associate coaching program.
"I want coaches now be part of a coaching process, part of the decision-making and accountability.
"I think what's important is that we're designing an opportunity for Newcastle coaches to come into our program and develop their skills."
Theriault had been an assistant coach of the Northstars for the past five years and head coach of a championship-winning Newcastle East Coast Super League team.
Doré said Theriault has worked "very hard" and believed he had earned the opportunity to be in a "major coaching role and have a great deal of input because of his experience".
"Joey is very technical, he has been to three grand finals, two of them winners, and he has become a very accomplished coach," Doré said. "Joey will bring a lot to the team as he always has and deserves to be given that opportunity."
Sheffield played 13 seasons for the Northstars, and was captain of the team between 2003 and 2014 when he retired.
Doré said Sheffield would bring a deep well of hockey knowledge to the coaching program.
"He hasn't had major coaching roles since retiring but I think Ray can certainly fit in," Doré said. "He's highly respected, the players think a lot of him. I think Ray is excited about the prospect of developing his coaching future. Personally, I have no doubt Ray will become a great coach."
Doré, who has been head coach of the Northstars in the past, said he wanted to be part of the associate coaching program to support Theriault and Sheffield.
"Right now the coaching team is predominately Joey and Ray and I will be involved to a degree," Doré said.
"At what level in this point in time I'm not sure because I've been attending practice for the last four or five weeks and they're going fantastic, the boys are doing a wonderful job.
"I think it's important they have the support from someone who has been down the path of coaching an AIHL team."
Doré said the associate coaching program has already been benefiting players.
Instead of one head coach spreading their time across the entire playing group during practices, the associate coaches can dedicate themselves to specific areas and groups of players before bringing them together as a whole.
"I thought why have one coach trying to make it work for everybody when we can have a number of coaches working with different groups whether it be offence, defence, power play, power kill," Doré said.
"We can break down our practices more efficiently, have more tempo, more purpose."