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Rick Swan becomes winningest coach in Bonnyville Pontiacs franchise history

Head coach and general manager Rick Swan after the Pontiacs 3-2 win over the Sherwood Park Crusader. Image credit: Neil Langridge.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs 3-2 win over the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Wednesday night was significant for a long-time member of the Junior A club.

Coach Rick Swan earned his 222nd win behind the Pontiacs bench becoming the winningest coach in franchise history.

As always, Swan was gracious when talking about the achievement.

“I think more than anything, it reflects the good people that I’ve been fortunate enough to work around and with over the last seven years as a head coach, and you reflect back on the players that we were able to attract to our organization, that are also a big part of the journey that we’ve had so far. Those are things that represent more than just one person’s individual accomplishment,” said Swan.

“It represents, collectively, everybody that’s involved. It’s humbling. You’re never in it for the wins and losses. Ultimately, you want to run a program that allows you to impart a philosophy that you believe in. And that’s more than just what you see on the ice. It’s more than just wins and losses. And it’s not really what you’re in the game for,” he said.

Swan was hired as an assistant coach in 2012-13 by then head coach Chad Mercier.

When Mercier left the following year, president Don Sydora gave Swan the reins for the head coach and general manager position in the 2013-14 season.

Since then, Swan has led the Pontiacs to their longest playoff run when reaching the North Final in 2014-15, earning 40-plus wins in a season twice and only falling below .500 twice in seven seasons.

Internationally, he’s been chosen as an assistant coach of Team Canada West twice before becoming the head coach in a bronze medal effort in 2018.

Swan says his perspective on Bonnyville has changed over the years.

“I’ve been more passionate about the community. I think that’s because our philosophy reflects just as much about being involved and being a servant in the community and embracing the fact that we are here to make Bonnyville a better place.

“From an organization perspective, I’ve got a real good sense of pride and privilege of living here because of the good people that I’ve met along the way and this is my home and I love coaching here and I love our fans and I love the people that I’ve met and then I’m involved with each and every single day.”

The Pontiacs host the Spruce Grove Saints on Friday night and Okotoks Oilers on Saturday night.