Bottomley out as Ramblers coach

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Team to move in another direction

Jim Bottomley will not be returning as the coach of the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers next season.

AMHERST – Jim Bottomley will not be returning to the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers next season.

Team president Jim Henwood confirmed Wednesday the team has not been able to come to terms with the coach and general manager and will be starting the process to hire a replacement.

“As a committee of myself, Keith Blenkhorn and Billy Chapman, we presented him with an offer and he came back to us with another offer that included a two-year contract and a significant pay increase,” Henwood said. “It’s just not economically feasible for us to give him want he wants.”

Bottomley, the longtime coach of the former Halifax Exports franchise, was hired by the Ramblers in June 2011 to replace coach Jeff Lewis and general manager Corey Crocker. In his first season he took the team to Game 7 of the then Bent Division final series before losing to the Yarmouth Mariners, while last season he took the club to Game 6 of the Eastlink final before losing to the Fred Page Cup host Truro Bearcats.

Under his leadership, the Ramblers had a record of 63 wins, 29 losses, eight overtime losses and four shootout losses.

Henwood said he has a couple of names in mind to replace Bottomley and hopes to begin looking for a replacement as soon as possible. A

“We have a few people in mind. We had to be prepared going into Saturday when his contract expired. We were a little squeezed because the annual meeting was just last Tuesday. We can’t hire a coach without the approval of the board,” he said.

Henwood said he’s very disappointed that Bottomley isn’t returning and he’s very doubtful there will be any further discussion with the former coach.

“I was very proud when we brought Jim Bottomley to Amherst two years and I was honoured to have him as our coach and general manager the last two seasons. He has done a lot of great things for this franchise, but at the end of the day it comes down to money,” Henwood said. “We just couldn’t give him what he wants.”

Bottomley said he was looking forward to returning to Amherst for a third season and is surprised he wasn’t given an opportunity to sit down with the board and talk it over.

“I wanted to come back but they didn’t want to do anything. I felt after the last two years and what we’ve done that something would be done,” Bottomley said. “They waited until the last minute and nothing could be done.”

Bottomley said there were no negotiations between himself and the board. He said the club wanted to cut his travel expenses. He offered to meet with Henwood, but was told it was a decision of that board that they don’t want to spend any more money.

“I’m very disappointed because we were starting to really build something good in Amherst, but it’s tough to go year to year and normally before your contract is up you start negotiations,” Bottomley said. “I had two good years in Amherst and that’s where my heart is.”

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers

Geographic location: AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • Ram Fan
    May 23, 2013 - 12:38

    To TRUE RAMS FAN The facts are... that Jim Bottomley has brought us twice to the division finals in his two seasons where others failed miserably to the point we almost lost the franchise. He also was forefront in securing a major sponsor. Those are facts the facts ma'am More facts are that many of the long time volunteers who did work tirelessly to support our hockey team when times were tough have stepped down because of the ''new egos" . No one is quick to just just stating the facts ma'ma

  • True Rams Fan
    May 23, 2013 - 10:41

    as Lt. Columbo used to say... "The facts ma'am, get the facts" ...lets all wait to hear them before we jump to judge.... our executive work tirelessly to support our hockey team, and they love Jimbo as much as we do.... my understanding is that there are further negotiations today... here's hoping they can come to an agreement!

  • HOCKEYDAD
    May 23, 2013 - 09:18

    How much more unprofessional can an organization get by not meeting with the coach who gave the Amherst Ramblers two of their best seasons EVER. Someone step in soon before Mr. Henwood and his power hungry cronies lose the fans that have come back after years of being away.

  • Steve
    May 23, 2013 - 09:10

    I went to Ramblers last year for the first time in along time because Bottomley had turned the team into a contender and a club that made the games exciting. He has turned Amherst into a place where kids wanted to play again. It looks like Jim Henwood does not understand the big picture and is willing to bet the franchise on the unknown. One doesn't have to be much of a history student to know that when Jim Bottomley arrived this team was close to folding and with his guidance as coach and GM he reversed the trend and perhaps saved local Junior A hockey for the town. There's a big difference between selling cars and creating a hockey team. I don't know much about what happened to reach this point but reading between the lines it appears as if there was little in the way of negotiations and that the decision was made by management long before last night.

  • Holm
    May 23, 2013 - 08:53

    So lets get this straight.... You wanted to cut his travel expenses (a controlled writeoffable expense) and he asked for a salary increase and you said no? Unless there are other circumstances that aren't out in the open and the public isn't aware of this leads to one question, what the hell is wrong with your thinking?? Look at any "business" anywhere any time. You get compensated upon your performance. If Jim was a losing coach and didn't bring in fans then no one would expect a raise. But a winning coach with an increased fan base and you don't negotiate??? Mr henwood you are in car sales... You are used to these negotiatoons..... Jack the price up as an asking price and get the final cost to where you are both happy. I think some clarity is needed, did the "board" try to do this with Jim? What myself and every fan in amherst saw, he (jim) did what was asked of him. He exceeded all expectations and you the "board" slapped him in the face. All I can say is I will NOT be purchasing season tickets and I truly hope jimbo takes the lead of a hockey club very soon and you the "board" get slapped when you are out classed on and off the ice. Please tell everyone, what was the difference between what Jim wanted and what you offered. I'd like to know what the "board" feels is the cost of a hockey club. I'm not asking what he is getting or what he wanted. Just the difference between.

  • HockeyMom
    May 23, 2013 - 08:11

    This is outrageous!!! Something needs to be done....and fast before some other team scoops him up. He has made this team in the last 2 years not the Executive. Bad move!! The fans will not stand for it. The jungle was rocking this year. Sad to realize that it won't be the same next year. Raise ticket price as suggested, do a summer fundraiser. Geez Glace Bay minor hockey in Cape Breton have a 50/50 draw everyweek worth $25,000 or usually much much more. Get on the ball people and raise some money. The community will support it you just need to do it!!!

  • pitrat
    May 23, 2013 - 07:42

    This needs to get resolved, if this is the way it's going to be then maybe we should look for a new president. As a fan of the Rams for almost 30 years I agree that this will hurt the team on and off the ice. I couldn't believe the bandwagon fans that started coming back to the rink because we had a good product after almost losing the team during the previous general managers tenure, and now they will lose these type of fans and then the end will be near. I demand an emergency meeting to discuss this decision. This can be fixed and if it means the present president gets ousted then so be it, Jimbo has done more for this team than this president has and this poor decision proves it. Shame on Mr. Henwood and his side kicks for not giving Jimbo the respect he deserves, who gives these guys so much power, I think the executive needs to hold a vote on resigning Jimbo, like someone said charge an extra dollar at the door for crying out loud.

  • Dorothy Parker
    May 23, 2013 - 06:21

    You guys have done some dumb things before but the decision to not bring Bottomley back really takes the cake . He is the most loved- hated coach ever and just what the Ramblers needed to keep them focused. Give your heads a shake.If you guys have any good financial sense at all , you will get on the phone pronto and see if you can fix this up .!!!!

  • Former Ram Player
    May 23, 2013 - 03:17

    I think this is a mistake, Jim was a great coach this year and an even better GM, made tons of great moves and i'm glad he brought me in to finish my career as a Ram. Wish Jim the best of luck if he continues to coach.

  • Kidding me
    May 22, 2013 - 23:23

    This has to be a joke. Two weeks ago we read in the paper what Jim has done for the team and that the finances have drastically improved largely because of him yet today we read we are not willing to negotiate a deal with him? You got to be kidding. Charge an extra buck admission or something but find a way to keep him behind the bench otherwise you will lose any and all much needed respect he has brought to this team .

  • Disappointed Rambler Fan
    May 22, 2013 - 23:01

    I find it hard to believe that any one would think letting Jim Bottomley go is a sound business decision after the results he's achieved these last two seasons. I'm totally baffled that two others could be talked into agreeing with this insane idea. From the ones I've talked to , this is the beginning of the end to the Ramblers franchise- I hope the three that made this decision can live with being known as the ones responsible.

  • Hockey maniac
    May 22, 2013 - 21:59

    The past 2 seasons have been the best and that is solely due to what Jim Bottomly has done for this franchise and with the players! I am very disgusted by the decision to let him go over money! Give me a break a business man knows in order to make money you have to spend money and that it takes about 5 years before you can reap the benefits! Bottomly made the seasons exciting and he was what this dying franchise needed. It is a shame to say that you will lose half of your fans over this and you think you don't have the funds now to pay the coach just wait until he is gone and see how little money you will bring in!! BIG mistake on your part for not negotiating!

  • Tunafish
    May 22, 2013 - 21:45

    Who ever is responsible for this give your head a shake. So much for having any respect around the league. I can't wait to see how many of our good returning players start jumping ship when they find out Jimbos not being brought back, this has got to be a whole new level of stupid I'll give the team 3 years tops before they are on the verge of folding again, sad sad day.

  • Danny Ripley
    May 22, 2013 - 20:37

    Very bad decision. Also to not meet with him is not professional at all. Pretty week after getting a major corporate sponsor. Proof will be in the pudding next year. If they were smart they would call him back and rehire him.

  • YOURGOINGTOLOSEFANS
    May 22, 2013 - 20:36

    The Rambler executives are insane. They do the same thing time and time again and expect a different result. Get rid of the best coach in the League, hire some local wannabe and expect to win. They are back to their losing mentality and comfort level. They not only lose a Coach but also a significant network of hockey back room personalities like Paul Boutilier who volunteered for Jimbo. How much more stupid can the three Stooges who represent the Ramblers get. Time for the members to call an executive meeting before it is too late.

  • SEEYA
    May 22, 2013 - 20:27

    My husband and I returned to the Rink two seasons ago because we knew Jim Bottomley would bring hockey back to Amherst and he did. This past season my family( husband and two children ) spent every Saturday night in the rink and enjoyed every minute of it. I'm sorry to say, after reading this my husband says if the executive of the Ramblers can't identify a winner when they have it we'll be finding other ways to spend our saturday nights .

  • carlos
    May 22, 2013 - 20:25

    big big mistake look at our record the last 2 years and look at the money he has brought in for us. A lot of fans wont be back and you watch the fan base go down hill quickly. too bad a lot of fans were coming back and now you just lost them I always buy a season pass not now will go to the first couple of games if they start losing I wont be back.

  • Jack on The Rocks
    May 22, 2013 - 20:09

    The Amherst Ramblers have made a huge mistake...I can't believe you guys let him go over travel expenses and a raise...Oh well,it will show next year...no question....we'll be talking about this agin in the fall when the rink is empty and the executive are crying hard times...you have to spend money to make money..of all people,I would think Mr.Henwood would know this...good luck too all involved..you will need it....

  • bobby fore
    May 22, 2013 - 18:54

    don't you guys worry. ol' Jimbo is like a cat he always lands on his feet.he probably already had another team lined up no doubt. pictou majors his name has ben tossed around ,as this year is the atlantics.

  • Rambler Fan
    May 22, 2013 - 18:34

    You have to spend money to make money! Nothing like punching the guy in the face after what he's done for the team. He's brought the Ramblers back to life for the fans... seems to me the debit isnt as high as it was before he came he may have cost money but also made a lot of money and brought fans back to the rink.. it was nice to finally have a coach to believe in. You will be missed Bottemley.. hope Jim and his Team know what they are doing!

  • knowitall
    May 22, 2013 - 18:18

    this is a joke right - no way would the Rams bosses would even consider letting this man go - If so the Rams will be done and I mean done as of right now . he and he alone is responsible for the teams success the pass two seasons People better sleep over this and get back to the table or Amherst will be losing it hockey team for good

  • justagirl
    May 22, 2013 - 17:49

    Huge mistake ramblers executive. If it wasnt for him, you'd still be 40 grand in the hole plus. Sad to see him go.

  • Once a Ram fan
    May 22, 2013 - 17:32

    Wow, what a stupid stupid move on the part of the executive. Do you guys have rocks in your head? Jim Bottomley brought back the excitement and winning to the team . Fans showed up that had stopped for 10 years because of Jimbo. Does this executive really think they are the reason for filling the stands this past playoffs? Be prepared to lose 200-300 ppl just because of this stupid decision. Sad day for the Amherst Ramblers and their fans.

    • minorhockeycoach
      May 23, 2013 - 06:43

      With all these comments , you should be rethinking your decision!!! Thats right, charge a Dollar or two more for admission, why not everthing is going up! Even after an increase, it is still a cheap outing for a family !!