"Hands-on owner," indeed.
Eleven weeks ago, when news broke that former NHL defenceman Derian Hatcher and Ottawa Senators forward David Legwand were purchasing the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, the word was that Hatcher planned to be very involved with the on-ice side. On Tuesday, Hatcher indicated just how much with the announcement that he will coach next season, with Trevor Letowski being sacked despite producing a game, gritty effort in the playoffs, where the young Sting made Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters sweat out a 4-1 first-round victory after taking the first game.
FromTV Cogeco Sarnia's Terry Doyle (@loosepucks):
Sarnia Sting have fired head coach Trevor Letowski, not renewing contract of assistant Andy Delmore. Owner Derian Hatcher to be new coach— Loosepucks.com (@loosepucks) April 7, 2015
The Sting shakeup jibes with other moves made by players-turned-owners in junior hockey. Two seasons ago, Red Deer Rebels owner Brent Sutter, finding himself without a NHL gig, installed himself as the team's coach, even though the WHL club was in capable hands under Jesse Wallin. Brandon Wheat Kings owner Kelly McCrimmon also acts as their coach and GM.
Point being, someone who is a coach at heart will want to coach, especially if he also has the reins of the team. Hatcher also has a 15-year-old son, defenceman Kelton Hatcher, who is eligible for Saturday's OHL priority selection draft.
It is a bit of a raw deal for Letowski and assistant coach Andy Delmore. The Sting put a scare into Erie despite the absence of their Red TIlson Trophy nominee Jakob Chychrun, who also played only 42 of 68 regular-season games due to a recurring shoulder issue. Hatcher, who is retaining GM Nick Sinclair, will be taking over a good young team with Chychrun and wing Jordan Kyrou moving into their 17-year-old seasons and promising forwards Nikita Korostelev, Troy Lajeunesse and Pavel Zacha each entering their age-18 years.
Whether the move sits well with Sting fans will depend on how the club performs next season. It's probably enough to have an owner committed to the city.
As far as other potential coaching changes go, the staff of the Belleville Bulls/Hamilton Bulldogs haven't been informed of their status for next season. Sudbury also finished this season with David Matsos serving as interim coach.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.