Thursday, October 2, 2014 - Submitted by Andrew McMurtry
The Newcastle North Stars announced a coup yesterday with news they had brought on Andrew Petrie as coach to replace Garry Doré, who will focus more on his role as General Manager.
Petrie, who resigned as Ice Dogs coach last week, said that it wasn’t lined up for him prior to leaving the Sydney-siders but that being able to spend more time with his family was a big plus.
“Garry and I have known each other a long time and after making the decision to resign from the Ice Dogs, I called Garry to chat about his own future,” Petrie, a Central Coast resident, said. “He said he was keen to focus 100% on the GM role at the North Stars going forward so I asked him if he could see me as their Head Coach. After a number of conversations where we shared our views, he offered me the job and I accepted on the spot.”
Doré came into the role in 2011 following the retirement of long-time coach Don Champagne and said in a release from the North Stars yesterday [http://www.northstars.com.au/2014/?q=content/garry-dor%C3%A9-steps-aside-head-coach-names-replacement] that his “intention was only to relieve him as an interim coach for 2012 or when another coach was recruited.”
In his three years in the role, Doré oversaw a minor premiership in 2012 and back-to-back Grand Finals in 2012 and 2013. He steps aside with 51 wins (including five shootout wins), 32 losses (including two in shootouts) and a 60.7% win percentage from 84 games in that time.
Petrie’s first season in the AIHL was this season, coming in after five games to have a 15 wins (including two shootout wins) and nine losses (including one in SO shootout); a 62.5% win percentage in 24 games, as well as leading the Ice Dogs to the semi-finals.
Petrie hopes to add to his tally in 2015 and feels like he can help the North Stars return to the Finals, after missing out last season for the first time since 2002 when the Grand Final was played by the top two teams at the end of the regular season. He said that there were several reasons he wanted to make the move.
“I'm a big fan of the professionalism of the club and the fact they really look after their playing group,” Petrie said. “They promote a family atmosphere which appeals to me also. They have a number of talented local players who I'm excited to work with.”
“My goal is to work with Garry and his staff to create an environment that sees guys happy to show up and work. One where everyone has a role, knows what it is and fulfils it enthusiastically. Once that is in place, I want to win a lot of hockey games and work toward winning that cup.”
Having taken the Ice Dogs role after a bumpy start to last season, Petrie was all praise for the Sydney club, saying “the thing I will really take from last season is that it totally reinforced my love for the game”.
However, the new North Stars coach will now get to see the other side of a rivalry that was forged by four Grand Finals (2003, 2004, 2008 and 2013) between the two teams.
“I had a fantastic experience at the Ice Dogs last year and I made a lot of friends there,” Petrie said. “In my experience the rivalry between the clubs was fierce, but it was healthy. At no stage did it seem bitter. Games were hard fought but also very fair. I would expect that to continue regardless who stands on the bench as coach.”
With over 35 years’ experience as a player and coach in Australian ice hockey, Petrie is keen to reinforce the winning culture that has seen the Newcastle North Stars be the most successful team in AIHL history with four AIHL Championships under their belts.
“In my view, if you aren't competing to win, then why bother?” Petrie said. “There are a number of other points of focus within and around that, such as player development and establishing a culture, but the core focus should always be to win whatever competition you are vying for.”