Shawn Jourdain officially signed on as head coach of the Muskie boys’ hockey team late last week, filling a void that sat empty since Shane Bliss vacated the spot back in the spring.
“I guess it’s just about the challenge in front of me,” Jourdain said in explaining his reasoning for assuming the role.
“I’ve always wanted to coach, and have coached in minor hockey ,so it just seemed like the next step to take,” he added.
Jourdain, a former Muskie himself, won’t be treading water alone. Longtime assistant coach Ken Christiansen remains part of the staff.
“It’s kind of a blessing in disguise to still have him on board, and he’s been there so long he used to coach me,” Jourdain laughed.
“He knows all the ins and outs, so I’ll rely heavily on him and Shane [Bliss] and the rest of the coaches,” Jourdain added.
Jourdain said he expects the team to be really quick up front, noting 50-60 players turned out to the opening of tryouts Monday.
Some spots still are in limbo, pending what decisions the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres make to their roster, as four players still could slide down and suit up for the black-and-gold.
Jourdain spent time in the front office of the SIJHL’s Borderland Thunder before they folded, and played for the Muskies when he was in high school in the mid- to late 1980s.
He also spent time playing junior hockey with the Thunder Bay Flyers.
“He [Jourdain] brings a wealth of hockey knowledge to the position and is excited to have this opportunity,” Fort Frances High School principal Gord McCabe said in a press release.
“He looks forward to continuing the successful tradition of Muskie hockey both on and off the ice.”
Regardless of which players get cut from the Jr. Sabres, Jourdain is inheriting a team that will have plenty of new faces going into this season.
“I know in years past when we had a young team, they played with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement because they were so happy to be on the team, so it should be a fun year,” former coach Bliss noted.