The Sicamous Eagles’ new coach is taking it one game at a time.
Eagles president Sheila Devost announced the organization had hired a new bench boss, Nick Deschenes, on Jan. 11. The Eagles won their first game under Deschenes 4-1, their second 6-4, their third 6-3. At press time, the team was riding that three game win streak into games on Jan. 22 and 23 against Summerland and 100 Mile House.
In a Jan. 21 interview, Deschenes was quick to credit his players for the recent wins. He said it’s not hard to motivate a group that knows their record — 9-18-2 at the time — doesn’t reflect their abilities.
“There’s a good nucleus of players,” he said. “I’m coming in and providing a bit of structure and consistency and they’ve responded well to it.”
Deschenes has coached in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League before, leading the Grand Forks Border Bruins and most recently, the Summerland Steam. He steered the Steam to a 4-1 start in the 2021-22 season before mutually parting ways with the organization. He’s also done a stint in the British Columbia Hockey League as coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters.
He brings with him about 10 years of junior hockey coaching experience and couldn’t pass up the chance to lead the Eagles.
“We’re moving ahead and tackling things day by day, trying to make things a little bit better and finish off the season on a positive note,” said Deschenes.
Cerebral is how Deschenes describes his coaching style, adding he likes to analyze the game and enjoys all its intricacies. He’s a demanding coach and firm, but as time passes, he said he’s changing.
“There’s a different approach needed here because really, like these players, I’ve been given a second chance to get back into the game and these players have been given a second chance as far as having a new coach come in and a different direction,” he said.
“We’re all working together to make the absolute most out of our season.”
Deschenes believes junior hockey in small communities is a special thing that can provide purpose and identity. In Grand Forks, said Deschenes, he saw that firsthand and realized how important it was to have a team that exemplifies positive characteristics like work ethic and community spirit.
Having a positive impact on the community is what it’s all about, said Deschenes, as it’s communities which give players and coaches the chance to play.
“Hopefully we can put together some good hockey that people are excited to come watch and hopefully the community will get excited and rally behind us.”