Tim Ruhnke – Recorder & Times
Jason Hawkins wants to build on last season’s successes.
He was introduced as the new head coach of the Brockville Tikis on Friday. It’s not the first time that Hawkins has served with the Brockville organization. He worked as an assistant with Todd Gill and the Braves and then served as head coach of the Jr. A team for two years, ending in 2013.
Hawkins served as coach and GM of the Aeros last season; it was his second stint coaching the Jr. B squad in Athens.
The Tikis rebounded from a terrible season to post 24 wins – an 18-victory improvement – in 2018-2019 and earn Brockville bench boss Andrew Dickson the CCHL2 Coach of the Year award. The Tikis lost to Perth in the quarter-finals; the Blue Wings went on to win the league title.
When Hawkins was introduced as the new coach at a news conference on Friday, Tikis and Braves GM Dustin Traylen indicated that Dickson was no longer with the team.
The Braves organization held its main camp in Kemptville on the weekend. “Camp was excellent,” Hawkins said in an interview. He expects that the Tikis will be primarily made up of 17- and 18-year-olds to start the season in September. “We’ll be young,” he commented.
Hawkins indicated there is “a good nucleus” already in place, especially on the back end. He also acknowledged there will be changes up front.
Hawkins expects there will be tough decisions to make when the team brings back 30 to 35 for training camp in August. There are “so many kids” from which to choose, he added.
A lot of the credit goes to “the unseen guys” who serve as scouts with the organization, according to Hawkins. He said development is his biggest thing, adding that he wants the individual players and the feeder team as a whole to be successful.
As for expectations early in his tenure with the Tikis, Hawkins wants to keep the team up in the standings. Last season, the Tikis finished third in the Richardson Division and sixth overall in the 16-team CCHL. It would be disappointing if the team isn’t able to at least make the middle of the pack, according to the coach.
“It’s important to get out of the gates quick,” stated Hawkins, who acknowledged that there is “a bit of pressure” based on the Tikis’ improvement last year. The new coach added that he is very happy with the “professionalism” of the Braves organization.
CCHL2 had not posted its 2019-2020 regular season schedule as of Wednesday afternoon.
Original Story at Recorder.ca