The news was released this morning and will be discussed in depth on today's edition of Offsides (4 p.m., cfrc.ca) that former Maple Leaf Alyn McCauley (pictured) has been hired as an assistant coach with the Queen's Golden Gaels men's hockey team.
The situation is this; last year, head coach Brett Gibson had himself former Gaels captain Andrew Haussler and recent Acadia Axemen standout Tyler Reid as his assistants. Reid left after the season - at last word it was unsure whether he was going or staying - but the hiring of outgoing captain Jeff Ovens as a new assistant made that evident. Ovens, however, took a new job soon afterwards. Blink and you may have missed the news release on the Queen's Hockey website which simply states "Jeff will be taking over a Head Coaching position in Calgary, Alberta with the National Sports Academy."
Much like his quick replacement of reigning OUA East MVP Ryan Gibb with the talented Mackenzie Ball a few weeks ago, Gibson again demonstrated he's either the luckiest or the best (or both) recruiter in university hockey by filling the vacancy in record time.
An NHL background of McCauley is probably unnecessary for any grieving Leafs fan. The former Devils draft pick came to TO for a package that included Doug Gilmour, and was then famously traded alongside Brad Boyes for the aged Owen Nolan. The rest, as they say, is history. Those without Toronto tunnel vision will also know he had a stellar time in San Jose before signing with the LA Kings, where he was limited by injuries to 10 games last year.
McCauley starts his coaching career off in a growing and strengthening program that has gone from a non-factor to a playoff team and division champion in the two years Gibson has headed up the squad. He'll probably have to get used to the struggles of dealing with Queen's Athletics, as it's looking less and less likely that men's hockey will be one of the priveleged few to receive full-time coaching money from the school.
It'd be a mistake not to mention the Gananoque connection here - Gibson a Gan resident and McCauley as well, despite his birthplace being listed as Brockville. Pretty well everyone agrees that's how this came to be in the first place. Also of note is that both will likely make their full time wages with their respective family businesses - Gibson with a healthcare company, and McCauley, at least according to the always-trustworthy Wikipedia, with a family painting company.
It'd be foolish to posit how that hiring will affect the team's performance this season. But it'll obviously draw a fair bit of publicity and, if lucky, local attention and attendance to the team. The story has already been picked up by the Canadian Press. The tenure of Kirk "I'm here to build a program" Muller was obviously one that didn't live up to high expectations. As a result, we should be sure not to set similar expectations for McCauley. Feel free to find it awesome, though. I sure do.
"Former NHLer Alyn McCauley joins Queen's coaching staff," goldengaels.com