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Chiefs start season with new coaching staff

by Jamie Steel

Returning to the ice after a championship season, the Lakefield Fitzsimmons Towing and Repair Chiefs will be lead by new coaching staff with Don Dunford at the helm as head coach.

Dunford, who coached the Chiefs for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons is returning with the blessing of his wife and the support of new assistant coaches Jamie Arcand and Nick O’Brien. He’s confident everything will come together for the reigning Schmalz Cup champs so long as they take the season one step at a time.

Arcand, who has spent 16 seasons coaching different age groups of hockey in the area, agrees that the road to victory has no guarantees.

“Obviously we’d love to get back there,” he says. “One step at a time.”

Arcand says he has a passion for coaching and is looking forward to the upcoming season. He attended a few Chiefs games during their championship season and was impressed by the hometown crowds and the teamwork on the ice.

Due to his local hockey experience Arcand is also familiar with a number of area players.

Shawn Mackie, who wore number 8 for the Chiefs last season and is hoping to return this year, says during his first season of hockey in Canada, Arcand coached him. It’s suiting that the two of them will be working together again this year, possibly Mackie’s last in Jr. C.

For the past three seasons O’Brien has been a trainer with the Chiefs, a role Dunford says he will still have some part in. He has been involved with the Lakefield Minor Hockey Association for several years and Dunford is looking forward to having him by his side as assistant coach this coming season.

In addition to the coaching changes the home ice for the Chiefs is also going to be a little different. The piping has been redone in the Lakefield-Smith Community Centre as well as a new floor, new boards and changes in the seating area, according to Dunford.

As for the players, a number of last year’s Chiefs were at the team’s press conference last Thursday (Aug. 7), including goalie Zack Wainman who says if he’s going to play hockey this season it will undoubtedly be with the Chiefs.

With four over-aged players leaving the Chiefs following the victorious 2013-2014 season and some players leaving the area for school, the team is excited about what the veteran players bring and how it complements the skills and abilities of newcomers. Those newcomers will have the chance to show off their skills at tryouts beginning Aug. 19 at the Kinsmen Arena, with registration beginning at 7 p.m.

Other tryout dates are: 7 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Kinsmen Arena, 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Kinsmen Arena, 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the Kinsmen Arena and 8 p.m. on Sept. 2 at the Ennismore Community Centre. For more information about tryouts call General Manager Dennis Anderson at 705-772-6581 or Murray Henderson at 705-745-7323.

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