Patrick Grandmaitre named new Ottawa Gee-Gees men's hockey coach
Men's hockey program suspended since March 2014 after sexual assault incident in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees have named Patrick Grandmaitre as the new head coach of its men's hockey program as it prepares to return from a two-year suspension for the 2016-17 season.
Grandmaitre, 36, is a native of Gatineau, Que., and a former assistant coach with the university's women's hockey team.
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Since 2010, Grandmaître has taught at Gatineau's Collège Nouvelles-Frontières where he helped launch and has run the school's hockey program. He also worked with the Gatineau Intrépides midget AAA team.
"Once I've found the players that have these character traits, I want my team to be adaptable on the ice, play a variety of systems. I want my team to be very hard to play against: being hard-working, being energetic and being fit. I want to build a sense of pride within the team and from outside the team."
Grandmaitre will also serve as a guest coach at the Ottawa Senators rookie camp in September, the university announced.
Ottawa Senators president and CEO Cyril Leeder and former Senators head coach Jacques Martin were part of the special committee tasked with finding a new coach.
Martin will continue to work as a special advisor as Grandmatire recruits players over the next year, the university added.
Focus on rebuilding team, reputation
The men's hockey program was then suspended in March 2014 and two players were charged with sexual assault.
It recently relaunched after a report from a university task force, with the search for a new coach as priority number one.
"It's not easy (to start again), it's not something (where) you just flip a switch but it's something you have to set the tone right away," Grandmaitre said.
"The guys who are accepting to come here are going to be aware of this reality and they'll be embarking on this journey to rebuilding not only the hockey team, but also the confidence in the hockey team."
"There's 125 years of history with men's hockey here, that's incredible. We cannot just go away from that," said the school's director of sports services, Marc Schryburt.
"We're looking in front of us now, we're looking to the future and we want to make sure we build that reputation to where it was before."
The school said it hopes to have the money for 25 scholarships of up to $4,500 a year each to help recruit players.
Schryburt said normally teams would bring in three to four new players a year, so offering 25 entrance scholarships is "never heard of" in Canadian university hockey.
Grandmaitre said there are currently seven players from the previous team still in university and if they're still eligible for the 2016-17 season, they're able to try out for his team.