When the returning Battlefords North Stars players make their way back to the Battlefords for training camp, a new coach and general manager will be calling the shots for the first time in five years.
North Stars goalie Taryn Kotchorek said the announcement Kevin Hasselberg was moving on to the professional ranks came as a surprise to the players.
“Everybody was pretty shocked. With such a great group of guys coming back and so many, that it was kind of the last thing we thought was going to happen but it’s just something that you have to deal with. (We’re) Proud of the guy (Hasselberg) and couldn’t wish him more luck,” he said.
Prior to making the announcement public, Kotchorek said Hasselberg phoned the players to tell them he was leaving the North Stars.
Kotchorek said it felt good being told directly from Hasselberg before, but it was a bittersweet phone call.
“I was actually excited for him too, but also sad for the fact that we’re losing such a great coach like (Hasselberg), who’s always there for the team all the time, the most dedicated coach I’ve ever met. It’s a sad day to see him go but at the same time I’m pretty proud of him too and it’s a great opportunity,” Kotchorek said.
Hasselberg’s last season with the North Stars was Kotchorek’s first full season but the two had interacted since Kotchorek’s first season of Midget.
Kotchorek said there will probably be some anxious moments heading into the training camp with a new coach and general manager at the helm.
“Some guys will probably be nervous just to see what the new coach brings and what his thoughts are on the team and what kind of changes he wants or if he wants to make any changes at all,” Kotchorek said. “Or (he’s) hoping to keep the same core guys which would be nice.”
The North Stars report to the Battlefords on Aug. 28 for fitness tests and the beginning of training camp on Aug. 29. The regular season gets underway on Sep. 16 against the Kindersley Klippers.
Matt Kelly is battlefordsNOW's town municipal affairs and community reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].
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