Kevin Kerr named Skyhawks new head coach
New North Bay Skyhawks head coach Kevin Kerr(right) and new Skyhawks assistant coach and assistant general manager Ray Flaherty (left) talk with the media at a press conference at Memorial Gardens.
New North Bay Skyhawks head coach Kevin Kerr(right) and new Skyhawks assistant coach and assistant general manager Ray Flaherty (left) talk with the media at a press conference at Memorial Gardens. Photo by Chris Dawson
For the second straight season the North Bay Skyhawks will have a new homegrown coach to call their own.
On Tuesday afternoon, Guy Blanchard introduced Kevin Kerr to the media. The former North Bay Centennial who broke the all-time minor professional goal scoring record this past season hung up his blades this summer is excited about starting his new coaching career with Skyhawks.
“I had a great 19 year pro career and this is where I started, I’ve made my home here in the summer times and my immediate family is still here and its something I look forward to, to coming back here and hopefully giving back to the community and to players and helping players get to their goals and reach the goals that I did,” Kerr told the media on Tuesday.
Skyhawks G.M. Guy Blanchard had Kevin Kerr on his coaching radar very soon after last year’s head coach, Randy Edmonds accepted a position with a German pro team.
“His passion for the game will certainly continue as a coach and he’s been a great student of the game and now hopefully he can pass on everything that he’s received in the game to the players and continue our franchise here on a winning note,” Blanchard said.
Another former Centennial will be joining Kerr behind the Skyhawks bench. Ray Flaherty , who’s coached for 19 years in the Ontario Provincial Junior A league with the Orillia and Couchiching franchise will be the team’s new assistant coach and assistant general manager.
Although Flaherty had applied for the head coaching position too, he isn’t afraid to take on the role of assistant coach and assistant general manager and he’ excited to work alongside Kevin Kerr.
“We will work hand in hand together, it will be a great experience for both of us, a new league for myself, I’ve been in junior hockey for a long time and with Kevin just starting out I think we’ll learn together in this league,” said Flaherty.
But don’t expect this duo to remain together long term as Kevin Kerr admits he wants this job to be used as a coaching stepping stone.
“I’m obviously hoping to coach at the highest level possible, those are my aspirations, are to become a head coach at the highest level I can so, I mean, with Ray Flaherty here who’s going to help me and bring this team along, I think his knowledge of junior hockey is going to really be a benefit to myself and to Guy and I’m looking forward to working with him and it should be a great season, “ said Kerr who had worked as a player/assistant coach for four seasons with the Flint Generals back in the 1990’s.
With the Skyhawks facing a tougher schedule including 10 interlocking games with teams from the Central Junior Hockey League and an amalgamated Sudbury/Rayside team, the locals will have their hands full this fall. But Kerr doesn’t feel any extra pressure to lead this team, which should include 8 to 10 returnees from last season, to a fourth straight NOJHL title.
“Both Ray and I can’t worry about what was done here in the past and I think we’ve got to put together our team that we are going to put together on the ice and I think we’ve got to establish our system that we are going to play and I can’t really worry about what happened in the past, and I mean Randy Edmonds is a great coach and a good friend of mine, and I wish him the best and obviously what he’s done here for the organization last year is obviously greatly appreciated and I’d be looking hopefully to do the same things that he did,” said Kerr.
While the team may have a similar look to last year’s product, don’t expect the coaching approach to be the same from two guys well known for their toughness on the ice during their playing days in North Bay.
“I would expect our team to be a hard working hockey team that’s going to outwork our opponents and come to play every night and I think that’s the key to winning at any level is hard work and commitment to winning,” said Kerr.