Barry Butler has taken the first baby step toward retiring, with his first leap to come later this Manitoba Junior Hockey League season.
Butler, the general manager and head coach of the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, has announced that he plans to step down as the squad’s bench boss sometime in the next year.
“The process has started for me to retire,” Butler said. “I have 13 grandchildren and I will be 60 this year.”
Although Butler plans to walk away from the bench, he is not leaving the organization. Butler will stay on as general manager, which means he will decided who will take over for him as head coach and when the move will take place.
Butler will start the year as head coach, but he is planning to hire from within the organization. That means the top candidates for the job will be Thomas Heapy, Len Dupasquier and Derek Tibbatts, all of whom have been with the Wolverines for the last couple years as an assistant coach or a scout.
The team’s training camp and early bit of the season won’t just be an audition for players trying to crack the team’s roster, but also for those three to take the reins from Butler, who has been with Waywayseecappo since the team was founded 13 years ago, with the exception of a leave in 2002.
Butler realizes it may be awkward to make a coaching change midseason, which is why he won’t make the switch until he feels the timing is right.
“I think we have some pretty good guys in the organization,” said Butler, who could make a move at Christmastime or may wait until the season ends. “We’ll make the transition over to them when they feel comfortable with what they’re doing and the players are. Then that’s the right time.”
Although Butler, who led the Wolverines to a fourth-place finish in the Sher-Wood Division last season with 25-30-5 record, is planning to retire, the 59-year-old is not ready to leave the Wolverines entirely just yet.
“The organization is pretty deep in my blood and in my heart,” he said. “I just want to make sure I’m not leaving anybody high and dry. It’s very important to keep the organization in the area.”
ICINGS: The Virden Oil Capitals, Neepawa Natives and Dauphin Kings all open their MJHL training camps today.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 30, 2013