Travis Clayton has been named the new Head Coach and General Manager of the Lloydminster Bobcats, following Gord Thibodeau’s resignation yesterday.
The Lloydminster Junior A Bobcats’ announced yesterday that their Head Coach and GM for the past 2 seasons, Gord Thibodeau would be leaving the team to head-up the Whitecourt Wolverines, with the same titles he carried with the Bobcats’ organization, in addition to a promotion to Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Wolverines.
Clayton coached the Midget AAA Bandit Pipeline Bobcats last season before initially taking the role of Assistant Coach and Assistant GM with the Bobcats. He led the Midget team to the Telus Cup National Championship this past April. Despite the sudden change in plans, Clayton is confident that his experience has prepared him to lead Lloydminster’s junior A team.
Speaking of what his experience brings to the table, he says, “It’s going to help, obviously. I’ve had a few good years coaching here with the Elite division, and my past experience of playing will help out a lot, but it’s a whole new adventure here. Junior A is another step and I’m going to learn on-the-go.”
The Bobcats’ are preparing for pre-season training camp starting August 26th, with their first exhibition set for August 31st against the Bonnyville Pontiacs. Clayton says that although the team is new from the players to the staff, they’ve got a good group.
“It’s going to be a whole new roster this year. We only have like five guys returning, so it’s going to be a lot of young guys, but Gord’s left us in a good situation. There’s a lot of young kids: 18-year-old kids that are really, really good hockey players, and we’re going to surprise some people here.”
According to the new Head Coach, before yesterday morning, he was fully prepared to head into the season in the role he was signed on for.
“I was going to be the assistant coach, learn under Gord for a couple years, maybe get my feet wet a little bit that way. But obviously, it’s sped up a little bit here,” Clayton laughs. “I’m now the head coach and like I said, I’m really excited. It’s going to be a great opportunity and we’ve got a bright future here.”
Now, the organization will look to fill the position of Assistant Head Coach/Assistant GM.
The first game of Bobcats’ regular season is scheduled for September 16 in Bonnyville against the Pontiacs. The home-opener is the following day at the Civic Centre for 7:30 puck drop.