The Owen Sound Attack could hardly have done better at adding a coach that can win in one of major junior hockey's markets. With the summertime coaching carousel winding down, the Attack, who recently lost Greg Ireland to Alder Mannheim of Germany, have landed former Memorial Cup-winning coach Ryan McGill, late of the Kootenay Ice.
Hiring McGill, whose second tour as Ice coach ended in April when it was disclosed that his contract would not be renewed, seems like a very good get for Attack GM Dale DeGray. Ireland's departure for Germany came rather late in the game, after many prospective head coaching candidates with experience in the Ontario Hockey League had found new jobs. McGill was still available, so he will be coming from one of the WHL's tiniest centres to what is by far the OHL's tiniest.
To get a head coach of Ryan’s calibre, in the time frame we were working under is unbelievable,” DeGray stated in a release. “Ryan brings with him a wealth of experience and success, both at the professional and junior levels. He’s a competitor who knows how to win. Our organization is extremely lucky to have him.”
“Ryan played in Swift Current, coached in Kootenay and now being the head coach of the Owen Sound Attack means that he has been a part of three of the smaller markets in the Canadian Hockey League.”, DeGray added. “Performing in a small market in front of a very loyal fan base will be nothing new to him and something he is comfortable with. The man knows how to win.”
The convenient first point of reference with a coach from Kootenay migrating to the OHL is McGill's predecessor with the Ice, Kris Knoblauch, who guided the Erie Otters to the league final last season while they were graced by a certain superstar-in-utero named Connor McDavid. The Attack haven't had an individual talent on the scale — or on the scale of Sam Reinhart, whom McGill was blessed with in Kootenay — since Bobby Ryan a decade ago. However, McGill has a track record of getting the most out of the material he has to work with. That certainly squares with how Owen Sound has punched its weight for the past half-decade, having been a consistent playoff team since the zenith of winning the OHL title under the late Mark Reeds in 2011.
The Attack also hired former NHL forward and AHL Toronto Marlies assistant coach Derek King as McGill's assistant. That makes two fresh sets of eyes, as far as being new to the OHL, behind the Attack bench.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @naitSAYger.