By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
The Swan Valley Stampeders will have a new look this season – especially on the bench. But the team’s new assistant coach is no stranger to the hockey scene in Manitoba, bringing a wealth of contacts and intangibles to the franchise.
Jamie Corbett was announced as the team’s new assistant coach and marketing director in late July, and he’s already been burning the phone lines (and putting miles on his vehicle) in preparation for the coming season.
In fact, Corbett was reached in Saskatoon, where he was watching one of his children compete at a lacrosse event. From there, he planned to make his way back to Winnipeg via Swan River to meet Stampeders head coach Taureen White, and make preparations to move the family to the Valley.
Corbett said the opportunity to move up to the junior A ranks from midget AAA comes at the perfect time for him and his family.
“It’s been something in the plans (to coach at the junior level), but with my kids playing hockey I stepped back for a bit to coach them,” he said. “Last year was my first year not coaching my kids, so I went back to coach at the midget AAA level (with the Winnipeg Monarchs).
“We were actually looking to make the jump next season, but when I was approached by another team, it got the wheels turning, and I thought I should look at some other options,” he added. “And after meeting Taureen, there was instant chemistry, and our philosophy seemed to line up. It felt like the perfect fit.”
His positive feelings toward the position only intensified when he visited the Valley with his family. He said they received a warm welcome, and they quickly realized this would be a great place to relocate.
“My oldest is going to stay here in Winnipeg to attend the University of Manitoba, but everyone else is coming,” said Corbett. “I couldn’t envision being away from the family that far for that long.”
He added his children are looking forward to playing hockey outside the Winnipeg area, noting one of his children is bantam-aged and is looking forward to trying out for the Parkland team.
“In every which way, it made sense for our family,” he said.
As for what he hopes to bring to the table, Corbett said he’s very aware the Stampeders have a long tradition of icing competitive teams with not a lot of playoff success, and he hopes to help the team “get over the hump”.
“We’re going to preach accountability, because these boys are just as talented as others,” he said. “It’s how we work together, trust each other, that’s the biggest thing. It’s getting the right character kids in place.
“We want to be a hard-working team, and a fast team,” added Corbett. “If you have those things in place, good things are going to happen.”
Training camp is not that far away, and Corbett said he plans to move quickly and relocate his family to the Valley by Aug. 15.
“We want to get settled, and I have lots of work left to do before the (players) come in for camp,” he said. “We want to be prepared. If we’re not prepared we’re not giving the boys the best chance. We don’t want to be figuring this out as we go along.”