McGuigan talks about coaching Team East at CJHL Prospects Games
SUMMERSIDE – Billy McGuigan said it was a “great experience” at the 2012 Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Games last weekend.
© Tina Comeau/Yarmouth Vanguard/TC Media
Summerside Western Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan coaches Team East at Sunday afternoon’s Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in Yarmouth, N.S.
McGuigan, who is the head coach of the Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League), served as head coach for Team East in the two-game series against Team West.
The prospects games were held in conjunction with the 2012 World Junior A Hockey Challenge that was held in Yarmouth, N.S.
“You get to see all the talent across Canada, and to see all the NCAA schools, CIS schools and NHL teams represented there, it was quite a thrill for not only myself but my staff and players,” said McGuigan.
Team West won the first game in Digby, N.S., on Saturday night 5-0, but Team East rebounded for a 6-3 decision in Yarmouth on Sunday afternoon.
“The talent level is very high and all the kids are skilled players, fast and are all on the NHL radar,” said McGuigan, a Charlottetown native and Summerside resident. “They were real easy to coach, picked up things real quick and you only had to tell them once.”
McGuigan also invited the Caps’ training staff of Lawrence MacKinnon, Mikeal Thomas and Rodney Shea along to work the prospects games.
“It was great having them involved,” added McGuigan, who will be back behind the Capitals’ bench for Friday’s home game against the Amherst Ramblers at 7 p.m.
“You get to see all the talent across Canada, and to see all the NCAA schools, CIS schools and NHL teams represented there, it was quite a thrill for not only myself but my staff and players." Summerside Western Capitals head coach Bill McGuigan
Approach coaching Team East?
What was McGuigan’s approach to coaching Team East?
“We practised the morning of the first game,” answered McGuigan, who rolled four lines, six defencemen and split the goaltending duties. “(Yarmouth Mariners assistant coach) Timmy Garden-Cole coached with me, and we put in some team concepts as far as a controlled breakout, what we wanted to do together as a team with the forecheck, the power-play breakout, the power-play set up and those kinds of things.
“We kept it simple, went over that stuff and let them play the way they typically would. They were playing in front of a lot of people, so obviously they were working hard and were being creative because they have such a good talent level.”
Attended selection camp
McGuigan also recently attended a selection camp in Toronto for Team East at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.
“Any time you get to see that talent level, plus working with some other great coaches across Canada, you always pick up some things you always learn,” said McGuigan. “Those are great opportunities for coaches for sure.”