Re­becca Rus­sell leav­ing Clarenville Cari­bous bench

“I just needed a break” says for­mer head coach

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY MARK SQUIBB mark.squibb@thep­acket.ca

There’s go­ing to be one ob­vi­ous change to the Clarenville Cari­bous bench this sea­son.

Re­becca Rus­sell will not be re­turn­ing to coach the team this year.

“Ob­vi­ously it wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion. It’s still not,” Rus­sell told The Packet on Fri­day, Oct. 19.

She says af­ter three years of coach­ing the team, she sim­ply needed a break.

“I own a fam­ily busi­ness now (ER Heat­ing and Re­frig­er­a­tion Ltd.), and I’m still tak­ing on a small role with mi­nor hockey as well, and I’m a part of the Clarenville Fire Depart­ment, and a few other things,” she said. “I felt like some­thing had to give. I needed to step away from some­thing for a lit­tle bit, and un­for­tu­nately the Cari­bous was the thing I felt I needed to take time away from at this mo­ment.”

Rus­sell says there have been a num­ber of un­for­get­table mo­ments over her years as coach­ing the ‘Bous; win­ning the West­ern cham­pi­onship in in Grand Falls in Game 7 in 2016; los­ing the 2017 Herder cham­pi­onship due to a con­tro­ver­sial game-win­ning goal; and, above all, win­ning the 2018 Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy.

She made in his­tory in Jan­uary of 2016, when she was named New­found­land and Labrador’s first fe­male coach of a men’s se­nior team when she joined the Cari­bous.

“There were a lot of peo­ple that sup­ported me, and a lot of peo­ple were be­hind, me,” said Rus­sell. “If you’re right per­son, male or fe­male, if you know the game of hockey, or what­ever it is that you’re purs­ing, and you have knowl­edge and you’re con­fi­dent in what it is that you’re do­ing, then ob­vi­ously you can han­dle any po­si­tion of au­thor­ity or any other po­si­tion your put into.”

She even found a pos­i­tive way to put to good use some of the neg­a­tive things she heard over the past three years about a woman coach­ing a men’s team.

“Those peo­ple who were the doubters, and wrote things on­line, and those peo­ple that said things out loud, and were pretty neg­a­tive about it, I still have quotes from those peo­ple on my phone,” she noted. “I’d like to thank them to be­cause they were a big part of my tak­ing it on and putting in as much ef­fort and time into it as I did.” Send­ing thanks

Rus­sell also gave thanks to a great num­ber of peo­ple.

“The play­ers and the staff of the Cari­bous or­ga­ni­za­tion; they took a big chance, and prob­a­bly took a lit­tle bit of a beat­ing for hir­ing me… and for the boys, the men I had the op­por­tu­nity to coach, they have been noth­ing but sup­port­ive of me since day one.

“They treated me like their coach, and I can’t thank them enough for that. They’ve given me some of my great­est hockey mo­ments now to date,” she noted.

She also had words of thanks for the team’s fans.

“Those peo­ple are the rea­son we have a Cari­bous or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Rus­sell said. “I can’t say thanks enough for sup­port­ing us day in and day out, whether that’s buy­ing tick­ets or send­ing a mes­sage of en­cour­age­ment.”

Al­though Rus­sell will not be coach­ing this year, she has def­i­nitely not sev­ered ties with the or­ga­ni­za­tion. She is keep­ing an open line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Cari­bous GM Ivan Hap­good.

Mean­while, GM Hap­good told the Packet on Oct. 19 the Cari­bous ros­ter is not yet com­plete, but that it should be ex­pected soon.

Hap­good could con­firm at that time that Ryan and Keith De­laney, as well as Bran­don Roach, would not be re­turn­ing.

Other play­ers, such as Ja­son Churchill and Dustin Rus­sell, were still un­cer­tain at that time.

As of Tues­day morn­ing, Oc­to­ber 23, the team has not yet se­lected a coach to re­place Rus­sell, who wishes the team well.

“I hope they have a suc­cess­ful year, and the fans get an­other great year of hockey.”

FILE PHOTO

Re­becca Rus­sell

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