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Gord Thibodeau speaks out on leaving Bobcats

Head Coach and General Manager of the Lloydminster Junior A Bobcats is parting ways with the organization.

According to a press release issued from the Bobcats on June 29, 2016, Gord Thibodeau is resigning.

The acclaimed AJHL coach has been with the Bobcats for the past 2 seasons. Now, he’s heading to Whitecourt to head-up the Wolverines Junior A team.

While Thibodeau will take on the role of Vice President of Hockey Operations, Head Coach, and General Manager of the Wolverines, Travis Clayton will aim to fill Gord’s shoes here in Lloydminster once he leaves.

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Initially signed on as Assistant Coach/Assistant General Manager, the former Bobcats Midget AAA coach, will takeover Thibodeau’s job, and the organization will seek to replace the Assistant Coach/Assistant GM opening.

“One of the concerns was making sure that we were going to leave the franchise in the right situation. I feel extremely good with Travis. He’s a very, very good coach. I’ve loved the month we’ve had to work together and I think he’s ready,” says Thibodeau. “We were extremely pleased about all the kids we’ve signed; we were looking forward to the year, and like I said, this kind of came out of the blue, but I do feel strongly that the Bobcats are in great hands.”

Thibodeau must now use an opt-out clause at the end of this second year of his contract in order to pursue the opportunity afforded him by the Wolverines. One of the reasons given for the coach’s sudden departure is health issues facing both him and his wife: Thibodeau was recently re-diagnosed with cancer, and his wife, Lori, suffers from MS.

“Well I won’t lie, the health issues that I’ve had in the last six months, and that my wife has had in the past six months…they open your eyes. There’s a toll taken fighting this, with the chemo…and it concerns me about where I’m going to be in five years,” explains Thibodeau. “…if I’m going to be healthy enough to do the job that I love. If I can’t, what am I going to do to provide for my family? That’s really the biggest issue here. Whitecourt came to the table with something that helps provide a transition out of coaching at some point. And it’s just not something I feel I can pass up.”

In the release from the Bobcats, the organization expressed its appreciation for all Thibodeau did for their organization, including leading them through their most successful regular season in franchise history as well as helping take the team to the RBC cup finals this past Spring. They also wished him luck in his next endeavour. Evidently, the admiration is mutual. Thibodeau spoke well of the organization and the many people who work behind the scenes to help the team, and he thanked both the Bobcats and the people of Lloydminster.

“I want to thank everyone for the opportunity I’ve had. I think myself and my family have been privileged to be here. The last two years have been outstanding. The community has been extremely supportive and I want them to remember there’s a lot of people in this town that work extremely hard to make this organization a success for these fans… A perfect scenario is hopefully, next year, we’re in the North final: Whitecourt against Lloydminster.”

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