Troy Mick took a few minutes Sunday to dissect a second straight loss at the B.C. Hockey League Showcase weekend in Chilliwack. Then he sent a text to a hockey contact.
Scott Robinson was just chilling at his place in Lake Country when he received the text. A few hours later and Robinson was the new head coach of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
Mick, a minority shareholder of the team, remains general manager.
“I can’t be a part-time coach in this league: it’s too good,” Mick said. “I asked my players for their full effort and they deserve all my effort. I found my mind wandering in Chilliwack thinking about other things I had to do and that isn’t fair to the players.
“It should be a rather seamless transition and the fans really understand. There have been a lot of 17-hour days and I can’t do it all. When I told the players, it was a somber component, but the good thing was they weren’t jumping up and down when they heard I wasn’t their coach anymore.”
Mick, a Vernon product who coached at Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna last year, said he needs more time to focus on the business and hockey operations while putting his recruiting and business skills to use.
In Robinson, the Gorillas get a two-time BCHL Coach-of-the-Year (Cowichan Valley Capitals) who was bench boss of the Dawson Creek Rage until the North American Hockey League franchise folded late last season.
“I knew Scott was biding his time in Kelowna, waiting for the first axe to fall so I decided to axe myself,” laughed Mick, 43. “The biggest thing we get from Scott is his experience. He’s a demanding coach like me and that’s what kids need now-a-days. He has a strong work ethic and a strong commitment to winning.”
Robinson, a native of Salmon Arm, was assistant coach with the ‘Backs from 2001-03, and also guided the Sicamous Eagles, North Okanagan Kings (Enderby) and Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International League.
“Frankly, I wasn’t expecting to get a job so soon,” said Robinson, 48. “I was an assistant coach 12 years ago so it’s pretty cool to be coming full circle.”
Robinson played three years of Major Junior with the Seattle Breakers, leading them with 97 points and 106 penalty minutes in his final season when he made the WHL all-star team.
He spent one year with the University of Calgary Dinos before signing with the Minnesota North Stars as a free agent prior to the 1987-88 season. He played one game for the Stars in the ‘89-90 season, earning one penalty.
The 100 Mile House product spent six years in the IHL with the Kalamazoo Wings and Milwaukee Admirals. He has been in the Junior game for close to 20 years and commands respect from everybody. Robinson’s coaching style has improved with age.
“I have learned to exercise more patience and I’m a little better technically. The longer you coach, the fewer things you haven’t seen before so it becomes easier to diagnose things.”
After two days of practice, Robinson was still learning names and admitting “we have a lot of work to do.”
His son Brad was a SilverBack last season, while another son, Brooks, is on a scholarship with the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden, Conn. The Bobcats are led by former Vernon Viper twins Connor and Kellen Jones.