By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
Former Swan Valley Stampeders and Waywayseecappo Wolverines coach Del Pedrick is about to take his skills overseas in a bold new adventure.
Most recently the director of hockey development at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., Pedrick and his wife Carolynn are relocating to Romania to take on an interesting challenge – build up the game of hockey in a region not known for their on-ice prowess.
Pedrick was recently hired as a technical director at Seclerland Hockey in northern Romania, a short distance from the borders of the Ukraine, Moldova, and Hungary.
The opportunity came about through one of the many contacts Pedrick has built throughout his coaching career, from his days in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, to his stint in the North American Hockey League, to his experiences at Notre Dame and at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
“I came out of a meeting one day, and I had a message from a contact I had made in Romania in 2009,” said Pedrick. “His name was Attila Nagy, and he said he was working on an exciting project, and he wanted me to look at it.”
Pedrick was of course willing to take a look at the hockey-related project, but said Nagy quickly hinted that this project might be something he would be interested in actually heading up.
“I said I would look at it first, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” he said.
After some consideration, the Pedrick family headed overseas to see first-hand what was in store for hockey in this northern region of Romania. What Pedrick saw was an opportunity – to build up the game of hockey where is basically didn’t exist.
“Back in 2009 there were only five indoor rinks for all of northern Romania,” he said. “Now we’re back seven years later and now they have more rinks in just their little region. So it’s exciting, they’re looking to build the game up at the ground level.
“It’s a new challenge, and the timing worked out as well,” he added. “I had a chance to coach in the Czech Republic last year, but with a young family, and my kids not settled and in Grade 12, I didn’t pursue it.
“So when their post-secondary plans were settled in June, and this opportunity came about in July – the timing worked out.”
Notre Dame was an ideal place for Pedrick and his wife to live and work. Carolynn was also a teacher there, and their children had the chance to attend school at one of Canada’s most iconic schools – a place which has churned out hockey alumni including Tyler Myers, Rod Brind’Amour, Brad Richards, Wendel Clark and more.
“I had a great experience working with some really motivated athletes,” said Pedrick, who won back-to-back midget AAA national championships in 2009-10. “And Wilcox was a great place to raise a family – a small village, great prairie living and the values that go with that.”
And now Pedrick is ready for the next challenge. He’s had success in his previous jobs – though he downplays it – be it winning the first-ever playoff series for the Stampeders, to the national championships at Notre Dame. But this is something different. It’s something that’s truly grassroots, and building something from the ground up.
“I’m very passionate about what I do, and I’m blessed about the opportunities I’ve been provided,” he said. “I may have jumped at things that make people scratch their heads – like a guy who leaves a job like teaching with four young kids and jumps in the car to become a hockey coach – but I’ve been fortunate enough to work in an exciting job, and a challenging industry.”
“And this is a chance for my wife and I to spend some time and do something different together.”