Troy Mick spent part of his spring break tweaking his hockey resume. After two years running the Pursuit of Excellence academy in Kelowna, he wanted back in the Junior hockey business.
Shortly after he e-mailed a few teams around the B.C. Hockey League, opportunity knocked. Mick, 43, was named head coach/GM of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks Wednesday afternoon at the Shaw Centre.
“I sent out resumes and all of a sudden, I got a hit,” said Mick, born and raised in Vernon. “It was kind of badda bing, badda boom and we had the press conference yesterday. It happened really quick. They wanted an experienced guy that’s been there and done that, and I wanted to get one of the top teams so being 25 minutes from my backyard in Armstrong pretty much made a lot of sense to try and make a deal work.”
Mick, who led the Vernon Vipers to the 1999 Royal Bank Cup title before coaching with the Portland Winterhawks, Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers, sported a SilverBacks’ purple shirt and tie as he addressed media and fans in the Shuswap.
“The games between Vernon will be a little bit more exciting,” he predicted with a grin. “A little more meaningful.”
The Vipers, coached by Jason Williamson, called up Mick’s 15-year-old son, Logan, for a game last season. Logan, who was second in scoring with 12-16-28 on the POE Midget team, will attend the Vipers’ camp this summer.
“Willy was my captain when I coached in Vernon so now you have a coach, captain and a son that could potentially be playing against each other,” laughed Troy, a 1988 Pittsburgh Penguin seventh-round draft pick after compiling 63 goals and 147 points in Portland.
Mick, who led the Junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies to a western Canadian title three years ago, was ready for a change after the heavy academy workload. He starts his new job Monday.
“Pursuit was a real eye-opener as far as looking after 110 kids and 200 parents and working 18-hour days and driving from Armstrong to Kelowna every day after two years, just more or less kind of caught up with me.
“And no question about it, I think it made me a better coach. When you’re doing 10 hours a week of practice plans and five hours a week of off-ice skills and gym. In Juniors, you’re lucky if you’re on the ice half of that for practice so I think I learned a lot, I developed a lot and more importantly, I met a lot of great people along the way doing that kind of job.”
Mick was nearly vibrating with energy and enthusiasm as he said he believes in the vision of owners Randy and Terry Williams – to win a national championship.
In addition to his new coaching and GM duties, Mick is a business partner with the Williams, a husband-and-wife team. Mick signed a five-year contract.
“I’m ready to go forward, I’m ready to dig in,” he said, explaining that he wants to hear from and respond to the community. He has backed that up by setting up an e-mail account where people can direct any questions or comments.
Accompanied to the media conference by his 17-year-old daughter Tiffany, Mick said most important to him is his family, noting he and his spouse Roxanne have been married for 21 years. Troy proposed to Roxanne on an arena scoreboard while playing minor pro in Knoxville.
He said the SilverBacks organization, with its fans, sponsors, and volunteers will become part of that family.
– With files from Martha Wickett of the Salmon Arm Observer