By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
The Osoyoos Coyotes have hired a youthful Mark Chase as their new head coach and general manager.
Chase comes from the Melville Millionaires in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he was assistant coach and director of sales and marketing for the Junior A team.
He’s originally from Kamloops and was part of the major midget program with the Thompson Blazers.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Coyotes owner Randy Bedard. “I think the whole process has been a little more demanding than I thought it would be, but I’m very happy.”
Bedard said the two share philosophies on the direction they want to take the team.
The position opened when Bedard chose in April not to renew the contract of Ken Law, the former head coach and general manager, who had been with the Coyotes since their inception. Law is 61 and lives in Penticton.
Bedard said at that time that the separation was amicable, but he wanted to inject something new into the organization.
With the choice of Chase, whom he describes as “somewhat youthful,” Bedard believes he can take the team in a new direction.
“He seems like a very detail-oriented coach,” said Bedard, adding that he’s had a lot of phone conversations and text messaging with Chase, but the two haven’t yet met face-to-face. Chase will be visiting Osoyoos soon, he added.
“We share a lot of the same thoughts and ideas about the direction we want to go and the culture that we want to create here,” said Bedard.
As well as being very analytical and having lots of questions, Chase is also quite communicative, Bedard said.
“I’m looking forward to him coming down and getting the lay of the land and having a look at the arena,” he said.
One stipulation, Bedard said, is that he expects the coach to live in Osoyoos during the hockey season.
While he considers that necessary, it made it harder to recruit a coach with family and housing ties to another community.
“I want somebody to come here and put their brand on it,” said Bedard, adding he’s not saying that what the Coyotes have built should be torn down. “It’s going to have a little bit of a different identity and I think it will be noticeable for people.”