Championship winner Adam Blanchette says he’s hopeful of remaining Southern Stampede head coach despite the club advertising the position.
The defenceman led the Queenstown-based ice hockey team to the Birgel Cup in his rookie season as head coach this year.
He even stepped back on the ice in the final three games when import linchpin Lucas Frey was called back overseas.
His position was advertised on the club’s website and social media earlier this week.
That prompted Blanchette to post on Facebook: “1 championship, 1 season, thanks for the heads up - tough way to hear the news”.
Several Stampede supporters also condemned the move. But he now says his comments were down to a miscommunication between the club and himself.
“It caught me off-guard but it’s all good,” he says.
“The way they handled it was a little silly - they’d mentioned to me I’d have to apply again but I didn’t know it was going to be advertised.
“I’ve had nothing but phone calls all week and people asking me the question, after winning the championship.”
Blanchette says he now understands the club had to advertise the role because it’s a paid position.
“I’ve got every intention of going forward and coaching next year. If you take anything from it, it’s nice to see the community supports me and the team’s behind me. Those are the guys we do it for.”
Blanchette’s unsure how much consideration will be given to any other candidates. “You’d have to ask the club,” he says.
Stampede took 17 wins from 19 games, including beating rivals Canterbury Red Devils in the finals.
Club president Niel Frear says: “We’re ticking boxes. Adam had a one-year position which expired at the end of October. It’s a part-time paid position so to use funds we have to go through due diligence and put ads out. That happened prior to me catching up with him.”
Frear says he can’t comment on who’ll get the job.