By Ryan Laverty
The Dinos men’s hockey program lost an invaluable piece to its national championship puzzle last month when Head Coach Tim Bothwell resigned his post behind the bench. All of a sudden, dreams of escaping the tough Canada West Conference feel that much further away for University of Calgary hockey faithful.
After a seven-year stint with the Dinos, Bothwell is shifting his career into a higher gear. He accepted an assistant coach’s position with the budding Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League.
"I will definitely miss Calgary," said Bothwell. "It has been a great place for both myself and my wife, Barb."
And while Bothwell exudes sincerity when he speaks of his love for the city of Calgary, there is no doubt he is excited by the next step in his career.
"I know [head coach] Curt Fraser quite well and I think it will be a great experience working with him and the players to get to the point where we can compete every night," explained Bothwell, who played with Fraser during his NHL career as a player.
In addition to his contributions to the on-ice product, Bothwell was a huge part of making the Dinos Hockey Charity Golf Tournament one of the most recognized charity events in the city. However, it will be his coaching ability that the Thrashers organization will be counting on come August, when camp begins.
"I will have a very different role with this team," he said. "I was brought in for my defensive knowledge. I will work with the defencemen, and on the penalty-kill, which was one of the most ineffective in the league last season."
The coach will tie up any loose ends during the last couple of weeks of July before heading to Atlanta in early August. And the next time you see him in Calgary it will be behind the visitor’s bench at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Apr. 2, 2002.