Nick­er­son hired as Blues coach and gen­eral man­ager

Blues host Sco­tians tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Amherst News - - SPORTS - By Dave MatHieson aDult Hockey

Los­ing is never fun. Just ask the Cum­ber­land County Blues.

They are sit­ting at the bot­tom of the Nova Sco­tia Ju­nior Hockey League with one win in 15 games, their third-year coach Phil Lynds was re­cently fired by the team, and their new coach, along with his as­sis­tant coach and gen­eral man­ager, quit the team and high­tailed it out of Springhill fol­low­ing their 8-4 loss to the Antigo­nish Bull­dogs Sun­day night in Springhill.

Newly-minted coach and gen­eral man­ager, Greg ‘Nicky’ Nick­er­son, hopes to turn things around.

“Go­ing into a sit­u­a­tion like that, with the record they have, they’re beat up a lit­tle bit,” said Nick­er­son fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day night’s prac­tice in Springhill. “So we’re just try­ing to get the pos­i­tive at­ti­tude back and have some fun.”

Nick­er­son put the team through their paces and said he’s im­pressed.

“I’m sur­prised at how fast they are, so there’s nowhere to go but up,” said Nick­er­son. “This team here in the next cou­ple year’s will take a run at the Dojo (Don John­son Me­mo­rial Cup).”

Nick­er­son grew up in Amherst, played for the Amherst Ram­blers, and has lived in New Brunswick for more than 25 years. He cur­rently lives in She­diac.

“Amherst is my home­town and I have some rel­a­tives in Springhill,” said Nick­er­son.

His as­sis­tant’s on the bench will be Amherst’s Mike MacKen­zie and Tim Rogers.

“Tim coached with me in She­diac with the (Ju­nior C) Preda­tors, and we coached the (Ju­nior B) Monc­ton Vito’s a few years back when we won the Don John­son Cup (In 2012),” said Nick­er­son. “And I’ve known Mike from years ago when he played with the Amherst Ram­blers.”

Nick­er­son was also an as­sis­tant coach with Bill Ri­ley, a NHL player out of Amherst, when Ri­ley coached the Gagnon Beavers of the Mar­itime Hockey League.

The Blues have two games this week­end.

On Fri­day they host the Pic­tou County Sco­tians at 7:30 p.m., and then on Sun­day they’re in Antigo­nish for a re­match of last Sun­day’s game against the Bull­dogs.

“It’s a learn­ing curve for me to find out what the play­ers can do and what they can’t do,” said Nick­er­son. “I’ll get to know the play­ers and let them get to know me.”

The Blues also have sev­eral sus­pended play­ers go­ing into the week­end.

“We have four or five guys out. Dis­ci­pline is the thing,” said Nick­er­son.

“You can’t win hockey games in the penalty box. If the other team is tak­ing 40, 50, 60 shots that means the other team has the puck 80 per cent of the time,” he added. “So we hope to tighten up our de­fen­sive zone cov­er­age, re­duce shots on goal, and once we take care of our own end of the rink the of­fence will take care of it­self.”

Nick­er­son be­lieves the Blues will make the play­offs this sea­son.

“My job is to get them back up and go­ing again,” he said. “We’ll get her turned around.”

DAve mAthIesoN – Amherst News

Trent Wilkie came a long way out of his net to poke-check the puck dur­ing third pe­riod ac­tion last Sun­day in Springhill. Wilkie made 69 saves in the game, while the Blues man­aged 18 shots on the Antigo­nish Bull­dogs net.

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