‘It was a culmination of things’ says Hamilton Bulldogs GM on firing of coach Vince Laise
Hamilton Bulldogs president and general manager Steve Staios says the decision to release the fourth coach in team history was an “opportunity to take a step forward.”
A 24-and-36 record over 60 games was not good enough in the eyes of the franchise’s front office who fired 37-year-old coach Vince Laise on Tuesday.
“I just feel like this timing was necessary,” Staios told Global News, “We didn’t seem like we were making progress, and I do think this team has more to give.”
With eight games to go in the 2019-20 season, Staios will add the title of head coach to his chores for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Although not yet having clinched a playoff spot, the Bulldogs should finish in the bottom half of the top 8 in the Eastern conference — likely in fifth, sixth, or seventh spot in a race with the Barrie Colts and Mississauga Steelheads.
However, a mere 3 wins in their last 10 games, and bleeding 51 goals in that span was too much for management to bear.
“You know, we’ve struggled not only as of late, but we really haven’t trended in any direction at all,” Staios said. “It’s been really up and down and not a lot of comfort, kind of looking forward to where we’re going.”
Bulldogs play-by-play announcer Reed Duthie, who’s employed by the team, says the change might help considering Staios’ track record as a player and the fact he managed the team that went to the OHL final in 2017-18.
“Sometimes you just need a different voice or a different vision for success and with Steve’s experience, he can bring that along with a great group of coaches around him,” Duthie told Global News.
Staios said player development and creating the ‘right environment’ was another reason for the move on Tuesday.
“I think the players have shown signs of developing and moving in the right direction, but certainly it just hasn’t been consistent enough.”
Laise was to begin serving a two-game suspension on Thursday after a verbal altercation with an official during Saturday’s loss to Saginaw.
Global News has reached out to Laise for comment on his dismissal has not yet received a response.
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