AMHERST – There will be a couple of new faces behind the bench for the Amherst Ramblers next season.
Both Tim Ripley and John Carter are stepping aside as assistant coaches and the team has begun a search for their replacements.
“It’s really the end of an era for the Amherst Ramblers,” team head coach and general manager Jim Bottomley said. “Both have been valuable assets to this hockey team over the years and both will be sorely missed.”
Bottomley is not sure who their replacements, but said he’s hoping to find someone from the Amherst area interested in joining the club. He said he has a few people in mind and will be talking to them in the coming weeks as the club prepares for the 2012 Maritime Junior Hockey League draft.
“Tim retired from his job a couple of years ago and was thinking of stepping aside from coaching, but I asked him stay with the team when I was hired last year. In John’s case, he has taken a lot of vacation time to be with the team and he has decided it’s time to move on to something else.”
Ripley said it’s only fitting that he ends his coaching career with the same person he started with in 1980. He and Bottomley coached together in Halifax for several years before he returned to Amherst. Ripley has been involved with the Ramblers for about 18 years.
“It’s a big time commitment, probably 35 hours a week,” Ripley said. “I just think it’s time I spent more time away from hockey.”
For Carter, who has been with the club for 12 years, he said it’s time for a break.
“It’s a hard decision, but it’s time to take a break,” said Carter, who looked after the defence for the club and also served a stint as head coach. “I had pretty much made my decision when we didn’t get the Fred Page Cup and by the time I got to the end of the season I was gassed.”
Carter said he enjoyed working with Bottomley and has nothing but praise for the organization.
“This is my decision and it’s something I want to stress, this has nothing to do with Jim Bottomley. He and I are good friends and I think he did a great job with those boys last season. I believe the executive did a terrific job too, it’s just that I need a break.”
Carter said the strain that comes with coaching helped with his decision. He said taking vacation all the time to do hockey business and coming into work early and leaving early to catch the bus for road trips started to add up.
“Usually at the end of the season you’re tired, but after three or four weeks goes by you start getting excited for next season. I don’t feel one bit recharged, that’s when I knew for sure it was time to retire,” Carter said.