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Other than some tweaks, new Colts coach doesn't expect many changes

'We’re all thinking of Dale, but we know we have to get going and get some wins, so this decision is the best one,' says assistant coach

There was no rest for new Barrie Colts head coach Warren Rychel today.

And he didn’t waste any time letting his players know what he expects.

Rychel, who was announced as the Ontario Hockey League team's new bench boss earlier today, was on the ice for practice Monday afternoon at the Barrie Molson Centre.

The new job is an interim position until longtime coach Dale Hawerchuk can return from his leave of absence due to undisclosed health reasons.

Rychel, a former part-owner in the Windsor Spitfires, spoke to BarrieToday about taking the job in Barrie and what he expects during the upcoming OHL season, which starts for the Colts in just over a week.

“I sold my last shares in Windsor; 13 years there it was quite a ride,” Rychel said. “I was thinking I was going to go on to an NHL job, but (Colts president) Howie (Campbell) called me last week and I drove to his office to have a chat.

“I know what kind of organization the Colts are and they are dedicated to winning," he added. "Howie is dedicated to winning and so am I, so it is a good fit.

"Now I have to find a place to rent, that's the only thing."

Rychel is no stranger to the league or the game of hockey. He served as general manager of the Spitfires from 2006 until 2019.

Under his leadership, the team won two OHL championships, in 2009 and 2010, as well as three Memorial Cup championships, in 2009, 2010 and 2017. Rychel was named the OHL executive of the year in 2009.

As a professional player, the former pugilist played in the National Hockey League from 1987 to 1999, winning a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.

But his long resume won’t see Rychel throw his weight around and change too many things in his new post.

“It won’t be different. We’ve always got to stop the pucks and we’re going to work hard every play,” he said. “There may be a tweak here and there, but I know that it's hard work and dedication that gets things done in this league and that is what we’ll do.”

Todd Miller, who was joined the Colts as assistant coach in 2010, says he's excited to have Rychel behind the bench with him.

“Rychel has a great background with the league and knows the players very well,” Miller said. “We’re all thinking of Dale, but we know we have to get going and get some wins, so this decision is the best one."

Miller stressed that Rychel is no stranger to the league. 

“Our whole organization knows him very well," he added. "Windsor has been a great team for so many years and he brings a lot with him.

"This isn’t a huge change, though. We have our team ready and fans should be excited for this team to hit the ice.”

The first chance for fans to see their new coach at home is Saturday, Sept. 21 when the Colts host the London Knights.

The season starts for Barrie on Friday, Sept. 20 in North Bay.


Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based on Barrie
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