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Goalie Coach Changes Coming in Ottawa, Vancouver

With the end of the season for some teams, we are seeing news about personnel changes. For two Canadian teams, this news includes changes in the goalie coaching position.

Matt O'Connor cited Wamsley as one reason he signed with the Ottawa Senators.

Matt O’Connor cited Wamsley as one reason he signed with the Ottawa Senators. Scott Slingsby Photo.

On Tuesday morning the Ottawa Senators announced that they have relieved Rick Wamsley of his duties along with Head Coach Dave Cameron and Assistant Coach Andre Tourigny. Wamsley has been with the Senators since 2010. NCAA standout Matt O’Connor mentioned Wamsley as a factor in his choice to sign with Ottawa in 2015.

“I’m a big goalie and I always need to get quicker moving laterally,” O’Connor said. “I think my game really improves working with a good strength coach as well, but Rick Wamsley will work me hard. He’s a good, hard-nosed guy that’s going to develop my game as a goalie in a lot of aspects like playing the puck, positioning and playing a bit more of an aggressive style. I know when I spoke to him after a game that he came down to see me in Vermont, he said he liked my aggressive style and compared it to Ben Bishop (of the Tampa Bay Lightning).”

This move was a bit of a surprise to many, but over in British Columbia, it has been known that Vancouver Canucks goalie coach Rollie Melanson would be moving on at the end of the season. This is essentially official now, with Melanson telling the Vancouver Sun that family matters would be taking precedence over hockey for now.

“When I played my last year in Montreal, dad was sick,” Melanson said Saturday, referring to the fall of 1991. “He had cancer, lung cancer. And I knew when I shook his hand in September (to leave for training camp), the next time I saw him, he wouldn’t be alive. I would liked to have spent those last six months with dad. But I didn’t have that option. The game is cruel that way.

“With my mom, there’s no way I’m going to let that happen. I want to spend time with her. She’s 84 years old, not getting any younger. Hockey has been my whole life. And it’s been an unbelievable ride. But I know in my heart, this is the best thing to do.”

corey Schneider Canucks goalie works with coach Roland Melanson.

Rollie Melanson works with Cory Schneider in 2010. InGoal file photo.

If Wamsley was comfortable with aggressiveness, Melanson is considered to be far less so, demanding his players take on less depth and remain contained. Still, as his relationship with Canucks goalie Ryan Miller demonstrated, there was room there for compromise.

One of the names that has been mentioned as a replacement for Melanson is Dan Cloutier, who is currently in a development role for the Canucks. No names have yet been associated with the Ottawa job.


About The Author

Clare Austin

Clare Austin is a reluctant "stats nerd" living in Nashville, where she has never worn a cowboy hat or boots.