By Jamie Neugebauer
Just because the North York Rangers will have a new head coach next season does not mean the bench boss will be a new face.
Assistant Coach Mark Joslin was announced John Dean’s replacement as head man at the Herb, directly after the latter officially accepted his new position as assistant with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League.
It was a move that Joslin did not fully see coming.
“I was shocked in one sense,” Joslin said, “because I knew John had aspirations to go to the next level, I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly.
“He certainly deserves it, he’s a great young hockey mind and a hard working guy so in that sense I wasn’t surprised that he’s moving up. The sad part for me is that John and I in a short time had great chemistry. That doesn’t always happen at this level, but I’m happy for him.”
Joslin, 50, has been in the North York organization for six years, pulling double duty last season as head coach of the Rangers’ bantams while working alongside Dean to guide the juniors to the second round of the post-season.
His resume includes head coaching stops in Pickering and Stouffville, but his crowning achievement thus far was as an assistant with the 2007 RBC Cup Champion Aurora Tigers, the club he was with for three very successful seasons.
Now, Joslin is ready to write a new chapter while pulling the strings himself.
“It’s great in that I’m very familiar with (owner) Brant Snow and (general manager) Claude Desjardins and the North York organization,” he said.
“John and I worked our butts off recruiting kids this spring and summer, but now I need to look and find an assistant or two to step in full time and help me out. I don’t think my demeanour on the bench will change very much; I think with the younger team we have this year there will be a little more leniency than last season where we were both kind of ‘bad cops’. That being said, I am still going to demand hard work, respect, dedication and all the things that make hockey clubs successful.”