New coach in charge of Cool Blues

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - When the junior B Cumberland County Cool Blues hold their first exhibition game Sept. 12, fans will see a new man at the helm of the Cool Blues ship, guiding it through the rough seas known as the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.
The new coach with the steady hand is former assistant coach Dave Hyatt.
Hyatt has stepped up to take the wheel at the bench with former coach Ron Reynolds stepping aside to spend more time as general manager.
"It's not too big of an adjustment going from assistant coach to head coach," Hyatt said. "Over the last three years, Ron has put more responsibility on my shoulders and eased me into the role. So I'm more than ready."
Hyatt is definitely excited about his new role.
"It's good the executive and general manager have shown confidence in me," Hyatt said. "And we have a great fan base here so it's nice to have that going into the job."
With such devoted fans there is little doubt Hyatt understands the extra pressure involved.
"Everywhere you go in town people say, "why'd you do this or why don't you do that," Hyatt said. "Sometimes it can be frustrating but last year a guy said to me, 'It could be a lot worse, you could have nobody asking you anything.' His point was that a lot of people really care about this team and that's a great thing for a team to have.
"Realizing how important the team is to the community makes you want to work that much harder," Hyatt added.
Hyatt's assistant coach on the bench is Jerry Harrison.
"It's Jerry's third year with the team and we know each other really well," Hyatt said. "So it's not like I'm entering a new organization and have to relearn an entirely new system with new people. It's going to be a smooth transition."
One of the first steps as the new coach was to contact veterans returning to the team for the 2008-09 campaign.
"I bounced ideas off them about the subtle changes we are going to make and they were very receptive," Hyatt said.
Those changes are making sure players know they are accountable and making sure the team peaks at the right time.
"Players need to be more accountable no matter where they are on the ice, and no matter where they are in the pecking order of skill and ability," Hyatt said. "Everybody's going to be held accountable no matter who they are. "Another area where we look to improve is to make sure our players are ready and playing the right way when the playoffs start. Last year, we may have been too focused on the regular season and this year, everything will be focused on making sure we peak when the playoffs begin."
Hyatt said the league improves every year and he expects this year to be no different.
"Eight of the nine teams in the league will be improving this year and we'll definitely be one of those teams," Hyatt said.
The Blues training camp begins Sept. 4.
Attending the camp are goaltenders Matt Kimber and Landon Crowe, defencemen Justin Cortes, Nathan Lavigne and Justin Landry. Up front are Cody Roach, Seth Crowe, Mark Rozak, Ryan Smith, Ryan Kay and Julien Rosselle. Another player the Blues hope to sign is Jordie Shaw, who comes out of Amherst's midget program.
Hyatt said the Blues are in talks to hire a second assistant coach.
"We hope to have an announcement within the week," he said.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, Jerry's

Geographic location: AMHERST

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