The Bonnyville Pontiacs have parted ways with assistant Coach and assistant General Manager, Larry Draper, sources confirmed on Wednesday. An official announcement is expected in the coming days, and the Pontiacs did not provide a comment.
“I enjoyed my time in Bonnyville. I’m very fortunate to have almost six wonderful years and it’s been great. It’s been spectacular,” said Draper.
Coach and General Manager Rick Swan says the decision has “nothing to do with performance.”
“He did a lot. He’s a good friend of mine. He did a lot with the organization and helped us grow to be one of the best reputable organizations in the country,” said Swan.
“It’s a tough loss for the organization that he’s no longer going to be with us any longer. And he’s a quality coach and a quality individual.”
The move by the Pontiacs is believed to be for financial reasons.
Draper personally thanked Head Coach, Rick Swan, Director of Business Operations, Robb Hunter, and staff personel Danielle Larsen, Kim Sydora, and Stacy Stacy Mikolajczyk, saying they’ve “just been awesome.” He wishes the Pontiacs luck in the future.
“I’ll be honest, I think they’re going to have one heck of a year this year, and I’ve got nothing bad to say about the Pontiacs organization,” said Draper.
“I think they’re going to have an unreal year and I hope the fans support them because they’re gonna enjoy the young hockey players coming to Bonnyville this fall. It’s going to be remarkable.”
Draper says it’s just too soon to internalize whether he wants to coach in the AJHL again. Instead, he is focused on moving back home to Edmonton.
Draper would have been entering his sixth season with the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
In 2015, the Pontiacs extended Draper to a long-term contract.
Previously, he worked as a assistant Coach with the Spruce Grove Saints for three years before coming to the Pontiacs.