Why did the Soo Greyhounds risk putting their faith in so many young talented individuals in both hockey and business operations? Part Two:
Kyle Dubas surrounded himself with other young people who were intelligent, hardworking, dedicated and believed in him.
Sheldon Keefe, as head coach, was also young, intelligent, hardworking and dedicated. Dubas provided Keefe with excellent assistants. Together, they refined the plan and found success. Dubas was recognized for his abilities and was hired to become a vice-president with the Toronto Maple Leafs and placed in charge of the Toronto Marlies. The following year Sheldon Keefe and a number of others in our organization followed Dubas.
When Dubas was leaving, he assisted us in finding the right fit to replace him. The directors remained with youth in hiring Kyle Raftis at 28 years of age. He complimented Keefe and moved to make trades that provided us with the opportunity to win it all. Although we didn’t go all the way, it was an amazing year in which the Greyhounds ended in first place overall in the CHL and broke the team record for most points with 110.
With Keefe leaving the next year, Raftis decided on a young head coach who played for the Greyhounds during our three consecutive trips to the Memorial Cup tournament. Again, it turned out to be an excellent choice and our Greyhounds continue to be successful.
Our controversial moves produced great results for a development league: between 2011 and 2015, the Soo Greyhounds had more players drafted or signed to professional contracts than any other team in the OHL, including the big market teams. Many of our players have succeeded in moving up to professional hockey. We had a general manager, head coach, assistant coach, trainer/physical therapist and equipment manager move up the ranks. With the young, skilled players and staff with exceptional talent, the success should continue.
Next week, the answer to the following question: Why did I decide to dedicate two chapters in Hound Town to the organization within the CHL and OHL and the ‘Program’ developed by the Soo Greyhounds?