Surprising off-season moves continue to take place in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL).
No doubt one of the biggest shockers came when Marty Abrams resigned from his head coaching and GM duties with the Wellington Dukes.
Abrams, who had spent 16 of the previous 18 seasons with the Dukes, decided it was time for a change of scenery and signed on to be the head coach of the Trenton Golden Hawks, one of the Dukes’ biggest rivals.
The man chosen to replace Abrams as Wellington’s head coach is Scott
McCrory. He was introduced as the Dukes’ new bench boss at a news
conference this past week.
Yes, that’s the same McCrory who was the head coach of the OJHL’s Whitby Fury this past season.
McCrory has also been one of the owners of the Whitby franchise the past several years. He’s now in the process of selling his Fury shares.
Besides coaching the Dukes, McCrory will also continue to serve as the Chairman of the OJHL’s Board of Directors. He has one year remaining in his current tenure.
McCrory said he was somewhat in a state of disbelief when Dukes’ owner Michael Mulvhill called him to tell him Abrams had resigned and that he would like to offer the Wellington coaching job to him.
“He told me that Marty was resigning and I said ‘Pardon me’,” said McCrory, who as a player starred in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals in the mid-80s before embarking on a 14-year pro career. “It was a shocker for all of us.”
Though McCrory was one of the Whitby owners, his partners were keen to head in another direction this coming season. Former NHLer Rob Pearson was brought in and given the Fury head coaching duties.
McCrory, who guided the Fury to an impressive 38-11-1-4 record this past season, is still very keen to coach in the OJHL.
Though he’s joined the Dukes now, he has no plans to move from his Oshawa home. He’ll commute the estimated 80-minute drive to Wellington for the club’s practices and home contests.
“It’s not a problem,” McCrory said of the numerous drives he’ll be making back and forth between his home and Wellington. “I’ll commute and on bad winter days I’ll have to get a hotel room.”
McCrory, 50, is well accustomed to travel at this point in his life. He was born in Sudbury and growing up in northern Ontario, he frequently travelled at least 90 minutes to get to opponents’ rinks.
And now he already spends a good chunk of his days driving around anyways as he’s a sales agent for a skate sharpening company.
The Dukes will open up their main camp under the watchful eye of McCrory on Aug. 19. Wellington will then gear up for its first exhibition contest, set for Aug. 25 versus the visiting Kingston Voyageurs.
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