Vince Malette has gone over to the dark side.
The former 67's assistant coach is the new coach of the Peterborough Petes, one of the 67's longtime and most-hated rivals.
Of course, in a case of impeccable scheduling, guess who's coming to dinner for the 67's home opener Sept. 29?
Yup, the Petes.
"It's going to be funny walking into the Civic Centre and not going to the bench on the left side, but walking to the right," Malette said yesterday from Germany where he is working as a guest coach for that country at the under-18 championships.
NINE YEARS WITH 67'S
"I'm just going to try and concentrate on my team and not get caught up in the atmosphere. Obviously, walking in there, there's going to be some nervousness within you. That's natural. I'm sure it'll disappear once the game starts."
After nine years as an assistant coach under 67's coach and GM and resident legend Brian Kilrea, Malette was ready to make a move up.
He had an opportunity in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs, but talks fell apart.
The Petes job came open when Dick Todd retired and the opportunity to be part of a team with a long and rich tradition was attractive to Malette.
"The organization's reputation speaks for itself," said Malette. "It's developed the most players for pro hockey and has a reputation for developing coaches from Scotty Bowman to Mike Keenan to Roger Neilson to Dick Todd.
"The situation in Ottawa was perfect with a chance to work with the winningest coach in junior hockey. It was just a matter of taking the next step."
REPLACED BY BYRNE
Malette's position with the 67's was filled by Chris Byrne, formerly the successful coach and GM of the Nepean Raiders of the CJHL.
"(Malette) has learned from one of the top junior coaches of all time in Brian Kilrea and has a long history of winning at every level," Petes GM Jeff Twohey said in a release. "He is one of the top young coaches in Ontario and has a great knowledge of the OHL."
Malette takes over a Petes team that won the OHL championship last season under the legendary Todd, who retired with the highest winning percentage (.615) in junior hockey history.