Moncton Wildcats bump coach upstairs after playoff upset
Group of businessmen seek to buy Acadie-Bathurst Titan after first round knockout
Moncton Wildcats owner Robert Irving has released head coach Danny Flynn after the team was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs on Friday.
Meanwhile, a group of New Brunswick businessmen is making a bid to buy the Acadie-Bathurst Titan after the team was also quickly knocked out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
In a news release, Irving said Flynn will remain with the Wildcats as the director of hockey operations.
The team lost against the Victoriaville Tigres four to one in a series that ended on Friday night.
Irving said in his statement, "The Moncton Wildcats are committed to a winning hockey program, which our fans have come to expect and we will continue to operate the hockey club on this basis."
Irving said the search for a new head coach begins immediately and he hopes to have the position filled within the next several months.
The Moncton Wildcats won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championships in both 2006 and 2010.
Flynn was the head coach in 2010, and an associate coach in 2006.
After six seasons behind the bench, Flynn leaves the post with more wins than any other coach in team history.
One name surfacing in speculation about a possible successor is University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds' head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
Last month, the team won its fourth University Cup title in seven years under MacDougall's guidance, making him one of the most successful coaches in Canadian university hockey history.
MacDougall also has a connection with the Wildcats. UNB Hockey's former general manager Roger Shannon is now the assistant general manager and director of scouting for the Moncton team.
MacDougall told CBC News it would be an honour to be considered for the Wildcats' post, but says his priority now is to continue recruiting for UNB and to try to win back-to-back national championships for the first time next year.
Titan may get new owners
The leadership of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan is also back up in the air in the wake of the team's early exit from the playoffs, losing four games to one to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
A group of investors from across northeastern New Brunswick are working on a bid to buy the Titan from long-time owner Léo-Guy Morrissette.
The leader of the group, Tracadie-Sheila businessman Leopold Thériault, is looking for up to 35 investors who would each put in $100,000.
Thériault has also approached some NHL players to invest, including former Titan players Roberto Luongo and Patrice Bergeron.
Morrissette said it's too early to confirm any kind of deal, but he has expressed a desire to see the team remain in Bathurst.
He has been looking to sell or relocate the team in recent years due to poor attendance and sagging revenues.
After entertaining offers from St. John's and a group of Bathurst-area investors, Morrissette announced in March 2009 he was selling the franchise to his children and retiring. But he announced in 2010 he was back in the game.