By Jamie Neugebauer
There is no question that the North York Rangers organization believes in things like the building of a family atmosphere, the development of young men and contributing to the North York community at large.
Yet the beating heart of every hockey club is always a simple measure – that of wins and championships – and the chance to win is ultimately what made joining the Rangers Junior A outfit such an easy decision for new assistant coach Mark Joslin.
“With the team we have now, we’re a team that’s really close to competing for a championship,” said Joslin over the phone.
“We are just a few pieces away from being a true contender so to me in that sense it was a no brainer to join the club because I was excited to be a part of what is being built here.”
Winning in the Ontario Junior Hockey League is something that the long-time hockey coach and trainer from Richmond Hill, Ont. knows very well. In 2007, Joslin helped lead the Aurora Tigers to the RBC Cup championship as an assistant coach, a team that was built up over a couple of successful seasons to capture the nation’s top Tier II Junior A prize, and it is that success that makes him an ideal addition.
Yet it is not the only reason, not by a long shot.
First off is familiarity: Joslin has been a part of the North York Rangers minor hockey system for almost five years and will maintain his position as bench boss for the triple-A bantam club.
But perhaps the most valuable aspect that he adds to the team is the vision that he holds for the roles that he will fill while standing beside NYR head coach John Dean.
“The thing that I am trying to do is to help and support John with our bench management,” he said.
“I know most of these players inside and out and so managing those personalities, knowing who you can be real hard on and who you need to be a little softer on and finding ways to make sure that every guy on the team is buying in 100% with what John is doing systems wise.”
Joslin is not concerned about the difficulty of being an assistant after spending numerous seasons as a head coach, and the mutual respect that exists between himself and Dean is clearly evident.
Yet to view of the two on the bench together reveals that the two men have similar approaches in terms of communicating with players.
“When I started here I told John that I am going to have trouble being the good cop and allowing him to be the bad cop,” Joslin said.