NEW GLASGOW – Last week the official word came that the Dalhousie Tigers women’s hockey team added New Glasgow’s Mike Stewart to their coaching staff.
Stewart joins the team as an assistant to Westville native Sean Fraser. Stewart said he grew up playing hockey and baseball with Fraser and is looking forward to coaching alongside him this season.
“I’m definitely excited for the opportunity with Dal and to work with a buddy of mine that I used to play hockey and baseball with over the years,” said Stewart. “We had a lot of fun playing together and won six provincial titles between baseball and hockey over the years. We both bring a winning attitude and it will be great to coach with someone that has a similar coaching philosophy.”
Over the past few years he said he’s been taking coaching clinics so he could get to the university or junior hockey level. This will not only be his first job at this level, it’ also his first time coaching girls.
“Coaching girls for the first time will be a little different in the way they’re handled and some of the strategy we’ll put in place,” said Stewart. “Shawn and I have already talked about fore checking and what we’re really looking for from the girls. We’re really pushing to build a system to score on the fly coming into the zone and develop a strong low game to move the puck towards the net to score if we don’t on the fly.”
Two years ago Stewart coached the Pictou County Crushers peewee AAA team. Since then he’s been involved with the Atlantic Hockey Group as the director of operations for northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.
Over his time with the summer programs through the Atlantic Hockey Group he has increased the number of teams in northern N.S. to 15 and added eight teams in Cape Breton this year.
He said being involved with Dalhousie won’t affect his Atlantic Hockey Group work and he’ll still be able to spend a lot of time at home with his family.
“I’ll be doing two practices a week in the city, specifically focusing on offence,” said Stewart. “I’ve also committed to making 20 of the 24 regular games. They’re done mid-November and don’t get back until min-January, which will make it easier to juggle the busiest time of the year for minor hockey. With my son still playing I want to be around to watch him play as much as possible. The structure with Dal will allow me to do that.”
The coaching staff will start to build their team next week when classes start at Dal. Their season opener is on the road Oct. 18 against St. F.X.
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