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.”