LONDON, ONT. - London assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu had a good view of the Guelph Storm bench. He was no more than 30 feet from it most of the night.
While he was no doubt focused more on his job for the Knights than he was on what was going on behind the Storm bench, who could blame him for thinking once or twice of what it would have been like if he had been behind there?
As it turns out, the new coach of the Storm is former National Hockey League player Scott Walker. He took over during the Christmas break.
No one will ever know whether Beaulieu would have ever gotten the job because there were several candidates and even though the Storm were interested in talking to the former head coach and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs, things never quite worked out.
Why? Well, that depends on whom you talk to.
Where the Guelph Storm interested in talking to Beaulieu? Reports from various sources says yes they where.
Did they ask for permission to talk to him?
“No, not directly,” said Storm general manager Mike Kelly. “We talked about a number of things. I talked to Mark (general manager Mark Hunter) in generalities about our coaching search and what would be appropriate. This is the middle of the season and there’s a lot of people who would be affected.”
Did they get permission to talk to him? Just about everyone is walking on eggshells over that question.
Beaulieu isn’t talking. But before Christmas, Hunter made it abundantly clear he wasn’t comfortable with having Beaulieu leave during the season, especially to a team that is in the same conference and battling the Knights for a playoff spot.
Hunter wasn’t at the Storm game Wednesday. He was away scouting. But he did acknowledge talking to Beaulieu about the situation and in the end, Hunter said there was some time restrictions placed on Beaulieu and it would be his decision on whether to accept them.
You can bet the farm, though, that there were plenty of hoops to jump through and quick decisions to be made. “We talked and Jacques thought it wasn’t enough time to make a decision so he was happy to stay here,” Hunter said by telephone.
Hunter wouldn’t say what the time frame was nor would he say if there were any other restrictions he placed on possible discussions.
“Everything just stopped,” he said. There is one thing that isn’t much of a secret around junior- hockey circles. Mark Hunter is a tough negotiator when it comes to making deals. There are two things that Hunter likes, winning and making a buck, and he doesn’t mind playing the heavy to get what he wants.
There may be some hard feelings after this one. If things had worked out and Beaulieu had gotten a crack at the Storm job, that would have affected the winning aspect of the game and most likely the financial aspect if the Knights either didn’t make the playoffs or didn’t go very far in the playoffs. Beaulieu refused to comment.
Anyone who thought that the Knights would reward Beaulieu for all his hard work and loyalty by giving him a chance to advance his career don’t understand the priorities of hockey teams in general and the Knights particularly. This Knights team is not going to win a lot of playoff series but getting them there means more than giving Beaulieu a crack at a head-coaching job.
Thanks for all the hard work.