Club, coach agree on two-year deal
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News.
This young hockey fan is likely happy that Jim Bottomley will be coaching the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers again next season. A group of fans waited outside the stadium on Thursday afternoon while Bottomley met with team officials on a new contract. The board later agreed to a two-year contract extension.
AMHERST – Jim Bottomley will be back behind the bench next season for the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers.
The club and veteran coach agreed on a two-year contract that was ratified unanimously by the board at a special meeting Thursday night.
“It’s fantastic news that we will have Jim Bottomley coaching the Amherst Ramblers for the next two years,” team president Jim Henwood said following the meeting. “It was never a question of us wanting Jim back because we did. It was being able to do something we could afford.”
The team did not release terms of the deal, although Henwood said both sides gave a little to make the deal happen.
The agreement came after 90-minute meeting Thursday afternoon between Bottomley and the Ramblers’ negotiating team. It also came a day after Henwood said the coach and general manager would not be returning because they were far apart in money.
Now that a contract is in place, Henwood said it’s up to fans to support the team financially to help it pay for the new contract and the belief that the cost of busing is about to take another significant jump next season.
“We hope that all these people who jumped on the bandwagon and wanted Jimbo back realize that we went out on a limb and signed Mr. Bottomley for two years. It cost us more money and we need all the support we can get,” Henwood said.
Henwood said the feedback he received since Wednesday shows how passionate Rambler fans are about the club and the coach.
Bottomley said he appreciates the vote of confidence and the level of support from the community. He said he received numerous calls and emails throughout the day from players and fans and he read the comments on cumberlandnewsnow.com and the MHL Network chat site.
“I’ve been in this league for 40 years as a player and a coach and I’ve always felt this was the place to be. This is the best hockey atmosphere in the league and we’re turning this franchise into a winner,” Bottomley said last night. “The support from the community makes me want to do it that much more.”
With the contract behind him, Bottomley wants to turn his attention to preparing for the draft and building the roster for the opening of training camp in August.