To the surprise of many fans, the Swan Valley Stampeders announced the resignation of Head Coach and General Manager Geoff Grimwood on Friday (Dec. 6) after just a few months behind the bench.
“I would like to thank the Swan Valley Stampeders’ Board, fans, sponsors and in particular the players for the opportunity to coach here,” said Grimwood in a statement provided by the team. “I genuinely enjoyed my time in the Swan Valley and wish the team every success in the future. “At this time I am choosing to step away from coaching and take some time away from the game.”
The change, which was effective immediately, saw Director of Player Personnel Darren Webster step up as interim Head Coach for the weekend’s road games. He was assisted by Associate Coach Suneil Karod.
“The Board would like to thank Geoff for all his hard work and the important role he has played in guiding the team,” said Board President Pat Morden, echoing the statements from the team’s press release. “The Board wishes Geoff well in his future endeavours.”
Replacing Grimwood for the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be Barry Wolff, a name very familiar to local hockey fans.
Wolff, guided the team to their most successful season in franchise history in 2018-19, coming one goal short of a league championship.
“He jumped at the opportunity when we approached him – there really wasn’t any hesitation,” said Morden. “From our perspective, he’s a known quantity and that made dealing with the situation easier. There’s a comfort level and a familiarity. We had a good experience in working with Barry before and, had things worked out differently in the spring, we would have been happy to have him back for this entire year. “There’s already some excitement in the community because everybody remembers what happened last year,” he continued. “But, it’s going to be different as he has a team that’s pretty well already set and there isn’t going to be a whole lot of movement.”
Wolff, who flew into Winnipeg to be on the bench for Sunday’s game in Winnipeg against the Blues, officially started his duties Monday.
“I am very excited to return to the Swan Valley and get the opportunity to coach the Stampeders,” said Wolff, joking that he’s not sure he has slept since agreeing to return.
“I loved my time here – the community, board of directors and people are unbelievable, first class!”
Wolff is looking forward to this week of practices to get acquainted with the players and for the players to get more comfortable with him before hitting the road this weekend.
“As far as the roster goes, my goal will not be change,” said Wolff.
“We want to be a team that the community can be proud of. We want to be hard working and work to get better every day! These are the two things will give us a chance to be successful.”
Story Credit – Danielle Gordon-Broome, Swan Valley Star and Times