Yorkton Terrier head coach Trent Cassan has been named co-coach of the year in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Cassan shares the honour with Humboldt’s coach Dean Brockman.
Interestingly the last time the coaching award was a shared one it involved the same two teams when Bob Beatty of Humboldt and Don Chesney of Yorkton split the award in 2003.
Cassan took over the Terriers with eight games remaining in the 2009-10 campaign taking a club that barely made the playoffs all the way to the SJHL final.
The Terriers returned to the league finals in 2010-11 and then went 33-20-2-and-3 in 2011-12, losing in the division semi-finals.
This season, Cassan guided the Terriers to a first place finish of 36-14-1-and-3, the best record the club has had since Cassan has been at the helm.
Cassan said the award is a nice one for the resume but one which is hard to savour as he prepares the Terriers for their first playoff round.
“Certainly it’s a busy time of year,” he said, noting he and the rest of the staff are putting a lot of time into preparing the team for the playoffs.
Cassan was also quick to share the coaching award with his players.
“It’s reflective of how well the players have bought into the team concept throughout the year,” he said.
Gary Carson, Director of Player Personnel for the Terriers also drew praise from Cassan.
“He (Carson) does a really good job,” said the Terrier coach, adding 19 players on this year’s roster have been on the Terrier’s 50-man protected list, some going back to when they were only 15, or 16.
“That goes a long way,” said Cassan.
Cassan said when a player in listed it affords him the opportunity to have them attend camps “and to watch them through the winter.
“It allows you as a coach to develop a bit of a rapport with them before they join your club.”
Coaching award co-winner Brockman has been the General Manager/Head Coach of the Humboldt Broncos since 2004-05 and has guided the club to an RBC championship (2007-08) in the midst of winning three SJHL titles in a row (2007, 2008, 2009). Brockman’s Broncos also won the Canalta Cup in 2012 and lost in the semi-finals of the RBC Cup in front of their home fans.
The Broncos in 2013 topped the North Conference with the same 76 points as the Terriers won the Sherwood.
As the coaching award sinks in for Cassan, the playoffs loom with the Terriers poised to take on the winner of the Sherwood Survivor Series between Kindersley and Estevan.
The Bruins won the first two games of the best-of-five series which were played in Kindersley.
Cassan said with the opponents being uncertain preparation for the upcoming series has been more about making the Terriers ready than on who they will face.
The team took a couple of days off after clinching the Sherwood pennant with a final regular season game win, then got back to practices last week.
The Terriers did take a break from the ice last week and visited the RCMP training depot in Regina.
“They gave us a tour,” offered Cassan, who added the tour went further than most do.
Terrier players were allowed to take part in some defensive training exercises, as well as being put through the marching cadets do.
“It was a really positive day,” said Cassan.
Cassan said once the opponent they will face is known “we’ll go over a little more video on that team.”
Cassan was hoping to attend Game 3 of the series Tuesday in Estevan. A Bruin win would wrap up the series (results were not available at press time).
In terms of being ready for the series the Terriers will be short a couple of centre in icemen, Zak Majkowski and Derek Falloon.
“We’ll go with the 12 forwards we have,” said Cassan, who added the Terriers do have affiliated players in Junior B they can call up if required.
The Terriers finished the regular season atop the Sherwood Conference with 76-points based on a record of 36-14-1-3.
By comparison Kindersley was fourth in the Conference with 49 points, and Estevan fifth with 46.
The Terriers scored 196 goals in the regular season compared to 154 for the Klippers and 153 for the Bruins,
Defensively the Terriers allowed 148 goals, while the Klippers allowed 200 and the Bruins 191.