Summerside’s Darryl Boyce to handle heading coaching duties this week for top-ranked Moncton
The Moncton Wildcats left on a road trip to Quebec on Wednesday morning without head coach John Torchetti.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) club issued a brief statement on Wednesday morning that assistant coach Darryl Boyce, a Summerside native, will handle the head coaching duties during this week’s trip which begins with a game against the Victoriaville Tigres on Thursday night.
“As with any personal matter, the details of Mr. Torchetti's absence will not be made public,” the club said in the statement.
Torchetti was on the ice for Moncton's practice on Tuesday afternoon at the Avenir Centre.
The Wildcats' statement on Wednesday morning said Torchetti wouldn't be travelling with the team and that he's continuing his leave of absence.
“John is still our head coach,” said Wildcats assistant director of hockey operations Ritchie Thibeau. “He's away on a personal matter and we're not going to get into any details. The length of his leave of absence is undetermined at this time.”
Moncton, 21-6-0-0, is second in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the QMJHL. The Wildcats, No. 2 in the Canadian Hockey League rankings, haven't lost two consecutive games this season.
Torchetti met with Wildcats' owner Robert Irving last Friday night and he wasn't with the club for a game on Sunday in Sydney. The Wildcats issued a statement late Sunday night that he was taking a leave of absence.
Torchetti, who has an extensive coaching background in the NHL, took over as Moncton's head coach in mid-January. He signed a contract for the remainder of last season and three more campaigns.
The Wildcats, which include Summerside’s Jeremy McKenna and Cornwall’s Jordan Spence, are 34-12-1-3 under Torchetti if you combine the two seasons. There were rumours this past weekend that he left the club to interview for an NHL coaching job.
“When I signed with Moncton, I made the commitment that I wouldn't be leaving for an NHL job,” Torchetti told the Times & Transcript. “I would never do that. I'm here for a mission and that's the bottom line. I'm here to win the Quebec league championship and Memorial Cup.”
– Compiled by Moncton Times & Transcript reporter Neil Hodge