Spirit coach quits

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

A contrite Doug Lidster said yesterday the incident that led to his resignation as coach of the Saginaw Spirit was not his first with goalie Mike Brown.

But it was the first confrontation between the two that involved physical contact, Lidster said.

"Mike Brown is a good goalie and a very competitive person, and so am I," said Lidster, whose 16-year NHL playing career ended after the 1998-99 season. "We clashed. I regret it and I wish it didn't happen. I apologize for it."

Lidster and Brown argued on Sunday and it ended with Lidster poking Brown in the chest with his finger. Three Ontario Hockey League general managers told The Toronto Sun it seemed to be a minor issue to resign over.

During a game against the Erie Otters last Thursday, Lidster pulled Brown. But Brown, a 2003 Boston Bruins draft pick, lingered in the net after Aaron Rock came in to relieve him. Brown then allegedly gestured toward Lidster with his stick on his way to the bench. Once there, Brown threw down his blocker, glove, mask and stick and glared at Lidster.

CONFLICT

"I like him and he is a good kid, but there was a personality conflict (between the two)," Lidster said. "I didn't see the gesture but I heard about it. I have to move on, but I don't know what my options are right now."

Spirit general manager Bob Mancini will take over as coach of the club, which is last place in the OHL at 6-14-1-3.

"Doug is a good man and this situation is highly regrettable." Mancini said. "But there was no other choice for him."

In a statement, Brown's agent, Jay Fee, said his client would not comment. The previous time an OHL coach resigned after a physical confrontation with a player was Tom Webster in February 2003. Webster, then coach of the Windsor Spitfires, cross-checked Mike James during a practice.


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