Beatty anxious to start making his transition to Caps' coach
Bob Beatty's integration into his new community has begun.
The new coach, general manager and a part owner of the B.C. Hockey League's Cowichan Valley Capitals and Cory Wanner of Estevan, Saskatchewan, who takes over majority ownership of the team from Stew Gordon, both arrived in the valley to start the transition to the new regime for next season.
They were at Cowichan Arena as the Caps closed the book on the 2012-13 season with a pair of home games and will be looking toward making preparations for the 2013-14 campaign almost immediately.
Wanner decided Beatty, 58, was the man for the coaching job after purchasing the club.
"I've known him for a few years,'' said Beatty, who spent his years growing up and later coaching predominantly in small-town Saskatchewan.
"When the opportunity came available, it was a great opportunity to move onto the island,'' said Beatty during an interview after he arrived in town last Wednesday and subsequently watched a Caps' practice. "It was probably time for a new challenge. I'm just tickled to get the opportunity.
"I'll just try to get my bearings and meet people and try to meet all the shareholders. It's exciting but there's a lot to do.''
Beatty is anxious to put his own stamp on the Caps once he gets settled.
"I haven't really set my calendar yet,'' he said.
"I'm going to fly out and drive my truck out in a couple of weeks.''
Beatty intends to carry out numerous discussions with current Caps' coaches Aaron Plumb, Darren Rodney and Rob DeClark and director of sales and marketing David van Deventer in making the transition.
"There's lots of scouting to be done back in Saskatchewan, too,'' Beatty said. "I'll be back and forth a little bit. We're just putting together a scouting group.''
Beatty was born in Saskatoon but grew up in Watrous, Saskatchewan. He played all his minor hockey there and then went to St. Peter's College at age 16 to play Junior B.
Beatty also played some junior hockey in Humboldt and Prince Albert and came to Vanderhoof, B.C. to play in the old Pacific Northwest League of five junior and five senior teams for a year.
Minor pro stints in the United States Hockey League that wasn't a junior circuit at the time and the Eastern Hockey League followed. Beatty actually continued as a player-coach in senior hockey for several years and didn't quit playing until he was 39.
He coached a midget team in Yorkton for a year, but then went back to work on the farm fulltime after his dad died.
"I was just coaching kids' hockey and senior hockey,'' Beatty explained. "My son was in atom hockey and I got a call from Humboldt to come and finish the season. They let their coach go there. One thing led to another and it continued.''
Beatty finished that season and spent seven more behind the bench of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Humboldt Broncos that included a 2003 Royal Bank Cup championship.
"I left Humboldt for a new challenge,'' he said. "I went to La Ronge and ended up staying there for nine years.''
He led the La Ronge Ice Wolves to back-to-back SJHL titles in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
"It's a whole new network of people I was able to meet,'' Beatty said of his time in La Ronge.
He actually signed a five-year extension with the organization in 2011, but "things changed,'' Beatty said.
"When I signed, I had told them I didn't know what the future was going to hold. As it turned out, this opportunity came up.''
Beatty was already somewhat familiar with the valley from a previous visit.
"It was four or five years ago, I came out and watched the Caps and Nanaimo in a playoff series,'' he said.
Beatty likes the improvements made to Cowichan Arena since the last time he was here.
"The rink, it really looks a lot brighter,'' he said. "I liked the rink before. It's brighter and it's got character.''
Most of the Caps' players are eligible to return. Beatty spent some time evaluating the talent during the two weekend games.
"We'll figure that out,'' he said. "We'll put on a spring camp in April. We've got some decisions to make, too.''
Beatty's mandate for the team is simple.
"Obviously, I guess get the best players possible and play the hand you're dealt,'' he said.
"I like an aggressive in-your-face type team. A hard-working team goes a long way.
"You have to have a certain amount of skill, obviously. The intangibles are what's going to make the difference in the end.''