Monday, 27 May 2019

New Leader Of The Herd

There has been some major upheaval at the University of Lethbridge over the past year regarding the head coaching position for the women's hockey team. Michelle Janus was dismissed in January, Perry Shocker took over and coached the remaining games on the schedule as the interim head coach, and there's still the outstanding civil suit against Janus and the University by four players that has to be resolved. There seems to be good news finally coming over the horizon, however, as the University of Lethbridge made it official today in hiring a new coach for the women's hockey team, and he's a guy who has strong ties to the community and school.

Doug Paisley was introduced as the ninth coach in Pronghorns women's hockey history today by the school, and the new coach has a history with hockey in the city of Lethbridge. Paisley is currently the president of the WHL's Hurricanes, a position he's held for the last five years, and coaches the Lethbridge AAA Midget Hurricanes. He was the associate coach for three seasons with the Midget-A Female Lethbridge Barracudas, and spent two years as the head coach with the Major Bantam AAA Female Lethbridge Little Caesars team. In 2005-06, Paisley was an assistant coach with the Pronghorn women's program under former head coach Doug MacLeod.

The pedigree is strong with Paisley, and this hiring bodes well for the Pronghorns as they prepare for the 2019-20 Canada West season. Paisley brings a ton of experience in both the men's and women's game, and his work with Midget and Bantam squads show he is an excellent communicator and educator of minds who crave teaching. This was one of the factors that led to the University of Lethbridge hiring Paisley.

"Doug did an excellent job in the interview process and has proven himself to be a tremendous leader, great communicator and will be a great addition to Pronghorn Athletics and the University of Lethbridge. We are excited to welcome him back to the Pronghorn family," Athletics Director Ken McInnes told reporters.

Paisley was excited at the chance to return to the program.

"I am thrilled to coach at the U of L," Paisley stated. "I truly believe it is a great fit for both myself and the women's hockey program and I couldn’t be happier to once again join the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Women's Hockey Team."

After the Pronghorns battled all season long and were finally eliminated with a couple weeks to play in the season, there's hope that Paisley's coaching will push the Pronghorns into the playoff mix this season. With talented players such as star goaltender Alicia Anderson, incoming defender Brooklyn Palmer, forward Kyra Greig, and senior sniper Tricia Van Vaerenbergh, Lethbridge could be set to make their first playoff appearance since 2011-12.

Before we put the cart before the horse, though, Paisley will need to get in and restore the players' trust in their coach that was eroded so brutally at the hands of their previous full-time head coach. Paisley has the experience to take this squad to new levels that haven't been seen in some time, but he'll need to get the buy-in from players before anything can happen.

Here's hoping we see the Pronghorns take major steps forward. Doug Paisley has some work to do, so let's see how he rolls up his sleeves in Year One of his tenure.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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