Blaine McCauley's stint as head coach of his hometown Georgetown Raiders lasted just 24 games before the OHA Provincial Jr. A Hockey League club replaced him and assistant Duke Bouskill over the weekend in the midst a four-game unbeaten streak. James Richmond will be behind the bench tonight (Wednesday) when the Raiders host the Buffalo Jr. Sabres at Alcott Arena beginning at 8 p.m. Raiders' owner Ted Nishi met with McCauley and Bouskill after Saturday's 3-3 home tie with Burlington to inform them of his decision. "I truly respect the admirable job that Blaine and Duke did, but we're half-way through the regular season at this point and we're in fifth place out of 10 teams in our division," said Nishi, who assumed the general manager's duties after Jack Moon resigned two weeks ago.
"The unfortunate part of this business is that you have to make difficult management decisions like this when a team isn't meeting its expectations. From a timing standpoint, we've still got half a season left and if we had waited until January to make a change if things hadn't improved, it would be too late to have any effect. We are very fortunate that someone with James's background was available and that he's excited to be joining us."
Nishi added that McCauley was asked to bring in another assistant to help address the team's defensive shortcomings, which had included breakdowns late in games against division rivals. For his part, the 30-year-old McCauley said he was in the process of recruiting an assistant, and even with a 13-5-3-3 record, a "difference in philosophies" is what led to the change.
"Duke and I had a vision of bringing back the Raiders to the Georgetown community using a three-year period and we were on the right path, but there are people involved with the organization who just want to win at all costs by trying to buy a championship and that's what's wrong with junior hockey today," McCauley said. "We stand for our principles and it's a matter of them (management) pulling in a different direction, and that's a different plan than what we agreed to coach over the summer." Richmond becomes the third Raider bench boss since the club's run to the Royal Bank Cup in May 2005. The 43-year-old Mississauga native captained the University of New Hampshire's varsity team and later served as player/coach for pro teams in Denmark, Holland and Germany. Richmond has since become director of player development for the Ontario Hockey League' s Owen Sound Attack, as well as a coach for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association's under-17 Program of Excellence. "I know that there is a good core of leadership there and the type of players who have been in winning situations before," said the King City resident. "For me to come in during the middle of the season, one of the things I can do is to go over those games they've dropped, go back and look what went wrong and get those questions answered. Work ethic and building consistency are the keys." Richmond's assistants are Lucky DeGrazia and Craig Teeple. DeGrazia operates a youth hockey academy north of Toronto and the 35-year-old Teeple played several seasons professionally in Europe.