Amherst Ramblers hire Hepditch as new coach, GM

Darrell Cole
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Former Moncton Wildcat was coaching British Columbia

The Amherst Ramblers have hired former Moncton Wildcats' defenceman Josh Hepditch as their new coach and GM.

The Amherst Ramblers have hired former Moncton Wildcats' defenceman Josh Hepditch as their new coach and GM.

AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers have gone to British Columbia to hire their new coach and general manager.

Club president Jim Henwood confirmed Tuesday night that the team has hired former Moncton Wildcats’ defenceman Josh Hepditch as its new coach and GM. He replaces Jim Bottomley, who was released from his contract soon after the Ramblers were eliminated from the MHL playoffs in seven games by the Weeks Crushers.

Bottomley was introduced Monday as the new coach and GM of the Yarmouth Mariners.

“It feels great to coming back to the Maritimes,” Hepditch said. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about the league and the Ramblers franchise and I’m looking forward to getting back to the Maritimes and building on what has become a winning tradition in Amherst.”

The 29-year-old Fredericton native played four seasons with the Wildcats and was at UNB for five years before playing two seasons of professional hockey in the Central Hockey League.

He spent the last two seasons coaching the Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, leading the team to a franchise record number of wins this past season.

Hepditch said he heard about the Ramblers’ opportunity from close friend and Woodstock Slammers’ coach Justin Bowers and was encouraged to apply by other friends he has in the league and the Maritimes.

Now that he’s the new coach, Hepditch plans to begin preparing for the June draft and reaching out to returning players to start building the team. He also hopes assistant coaches Tim Ripley and Jamie Matthews will return next season.

He said he learned a lot coaching in Creston Valley, adding that area is a junior hockey hot bed with several leagues within a few hours. He feels that will prepare him for Amherst.

Hepditch won a President’s Cup with the Wildcats in 2005-06 and two University Cups with UNB in 2009 and 2011.

“I’ve had a lot of success as a player at every level and I’ve transferred that into coaching,” he said. “There are some great assets coming back in Amherst and I want to build on that and put a winning team on the ice.

“I’m a very positive coach and not one to get overly excited. I’m pretty even keeled and like to bring out the best in my players. I’m not one to yell and scream at my players. I want to have a high tempo, creative, hardworking team and one that’s sound on bothsides of the puck.”

Organizations: Wildcats, Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, Central Hockey League Kootenay International Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: AMHERST, British Columbia, Moncton Fredericton Creston Valley

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Recent comments

  • Really??
    May 21, 2014 - 13:22

    Hepditch is coming in with the cupboards looking pretty good and anything less then going to round two in the playoffs should be seen as a failure if it happens. Jimbo was building and had us make the playoffs every year he was here. What people in their right minds would go on record to say it should be acceptable to wait 3-5 years for an unproven coach to maybe make us champions. SERIOUSLY! His first season should tell a lot- like does he even belong in this league let alone is he the guy to bring Amherst a Champion. It is being said that there are 11 teams in the league quite happy with Amherst aquiring Hepditch . Nuff said.

  • Seriously
    May 20, 2014 - 11:23

    Really?? Common people.....Amherst hasnt won anything since 1993. If Hepditch was hired 3 years ago the Ramblers would have had a league title, 100%. That team was built to win and should have won. Unfortunately in JIMBO's aftermath this Rambler group will be 3-5 years rebuilding again. If the new coach is given the resources and the exectutive has the patience he will build a championship team!

  • offside
    May 15, 2014 - 16:34

    Pretty big expectations to have a young coach come in and do better than Jimbo did when in his first season he took the club to the division finals. I guess all the nay sayers will be eating crow when the Ramblers of 2014-2015 are sporting their kent cup rings.

  • wingman
    May 15, 2014 - 14:20

    Didn't see toughness included in his coaching philosophy?

  • ram fan
    May 15, 2014 - 11:23

    Must be missing something here vance,tell me what the rams have won in the last few years?Don't remember anything.

  • ram fan
    May 14, 2014 - 17:52

    Sounds like good news to me,young and experienced,he will be god for the guys,welcome to Amherst Josh.

  • Vance
    May 14, 2014 - 13:55

    Hey Spectator what's to change? We won't make the playoffs going back to the years prior to Bottomley and we'll now see a rambler at every crosswalk helping old ladies across the street LOL Sell it for all you want people, the sheep are happy now just to have a name in place

  • Vance
    May 14, 2014 - 13:45

    Amherst has simply put a name in place with a much cheaper price tag in hopes that the hockey fans will see this as a great and wonderful thing and not as the huge blunder it is. I am a hockey fan, the fans could care less if the Ramblers march in the christmas parade or go to the schools to read to children- there are people in place to do those things called teachers. It is the product on the ice that the fans PAY to see not who is smiling for the cameras . Replacing a coach that has taken Amherst into the playoffs each year he was here for three consecutive years speaks for itself. Being replaced by a person who in his first year of his only two years experience couldn't get a jr b team into a playoff spot also speaks for itself as well. If that is reason to congratulate the executives, board and whomever else wants a pat on the for a great move then GIVER LOL

  • Spectator
    May 14, 2014 - 09:08

    Ramblers are in for a big change, this guy will turn this organization right around. He will be better than Bottomley in every aspect of the job.

  • Ramfan
    May 14, 2014 - 06:29

    Is this a misprint- two years experience in jr. B? Is that what we traded Jim Bottomley in for?That can't be right

    • Jordan
      May 14, 2014 - 08:02

      The amount of time an individual spends behind the bench has no signifigance. If someone spend 20 years behind the bench, but never won, would you choose him? Amherst pulled a good move bringing in a young heart that can communicate and relate to the players being young. He's coming in to win, he wants to see Amherst win. He's going to bring community spirit to the community on and off the ice. Id like to congradulate the board, executives and Jim Henwood for the excellant decision you made to build the hockey club in a positive direction.

  • Vince Kennie
    May 14, 2014 - 04:15

    Great news. Wishing the new coach all the best in the upcoming draft and also during the hockey season of 2014-2015.

    • ram fan
      May 15, 2014 - 10:45

      come on people give this guy a chance,being shot in the fot even before he starts but no surprise all some ram fans do is complain no matter what,as I said this will be a good change for the guys ,young and will interact with the guys,you don't know josh and what he will do for this team.