When you’ve got the worst record in junior C hockey, a change or two might need to happen.
And on the weekend, the ax dropped on Delhi Travellers coach Russ Lockwood.
“It was just one of those things we had to do,” said Travellers director Renee Clarysse. “We had to shake things up. The kids weren’t in shape. And when you’re struggling badly like we are, something has to happen.”
Lockwood only had 10 regular season and a handful of exhibition games to help turn around the Travellers, who were coming off a dismal 6-31-2 record last season.
But an 0-10 start, one of the worst goals against and goals for in Ontario, the Travellers opted to let Lockwood go.
Replacing Lockwood is Tim Christo, a very familiar face to the local junior hockey scene.
“Tim’s been a guy on our radar for years,” Clarysse said. “He’s a great coach. You know he’s having fun being back. With him here, there’ll be a few other changes.”
Christo, who had successful stints with the Norwich Merchants and Woodstock Navy Vets (and Renegades), has also coached at the senior A level with the Tillsoburg Thunder.
“He’s patient with kids,” Clarysse said. “He’s a player’s coach. He’s the kind of guy that will develop the kids. He had a smile on his face at practice, and you have to love that.”
That nurturing style of coaching is something the Travellers hope Christo brings to the very young team.
“He’s one of those guys that will take the time to talk to the kids,” Clarysse said. “We hope he’s the guy that will help us rebuild this team. People know about his style of coaching, and we really hope kids come because of him.”
While the coaching swap was the huge change, Clarysse said the team has signed Chad Harrington, Jarred Ebdon, and goalie Mike Harrison, with other moves in the works.
“Jarred hasn’t played in a while, but he’s one of those guys that will help this hockey team,” he said.
The Travellers hope to get that first win Friday in Norwich at 8 p.m. They return to Delhi Saturday at 8 p.m., when they host the Tavistock Braves.