SAULT STE MARIE, ON -The Soo Greyhounds Hockey Program is pleased to announce that the contract of General Manager, Kyle Dubas, has been extended by two years. The extension ensures Dubas will be at the helm of the club’s hockey and business operations through the 2015-2016 season.
"On behalf of our ownership group, we are extremely excited to come to an agreement with Kyle Dubas to have him remain our General Manager through the 2015-2016 hockey season" said Club President, Dr. Lou Lukenda. "We are very pleased with the potential of the hockey club and the job that was done particularly this past season. Primarily, our goal is to put a great product on the ice for our great community and the second half and playoffs of this season were an exciting indication for us of where our team is headed."
The Club's Ownership was particularly impressed with the way in which Dubas handled many challenges over his first two seasons, and the many achievements of the club in the community and in the classroom during Dubas’ first two years as General Manager.
"As an ownership group, we couldn't help but take note of the numerous awards the players with our club won this Spring, not only for their on-ice achievements but more importantly for their work as students and leaders. To see Colin Miller win the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy, Darnell Nurse win the Bobby Smith Award as the Scholastic Player of the Year and Ryan Sproul win the OHL and CHL Defenceman of the Year was not only a great testament to those young men, but to the leadership and guidance Kyle has provided over the past two seasons. In speaking with the educators in our community, they absolutely rave about our players’ commitment to academia and their elite performance in the classroom, at both the secondary and post-secondary level, under the new academic program that Kyle put into place. As owners, we could not help but take note of the sentiment in the community and in the schools this season about the caliber and conduct of the young men who would be representing the Greyhounds for the upcoming seasons” Lukenda continued.
Originally hired on Friday, April 15, 2011, Dubas returned to Sault Ste. Marie and the Hounds after working thirteen years in the hockey business. His previous tenures included both business and hockey operations work with the club before becoming an NHLPA Certified agent with Uptown Sports Management.
"This is a very exciting day for me as it means our family will be setting our roots in Sault Ste. Marie. I'd like to thank our ownership group for their continued support and belief in our Program. We are also very lucky to have an absolutely great staff here on the business, academic, and hockey sides of our Program. Our business staff of Tracy Cosby, Gerry Liscumb Jr., Megan Dubas,Tyson Enfield, and Chris Hulit all work extremely hard, and put in very long hours to make sure our Program operates at an elite level. They all have a tremendous passion for the Soo Greyhounds and it is a pleasure to know I will get to continue to work with them all for the next three years” began Dubas.
This season Dubas and Head Coach Sheldon Keefe led the Hounds to a record of 23-12-1-3 over the final 39 games of the 2012-2013 season that was good for one of the top records in the OHL over that sample size. The on-ice success of the club was matched by unprecedented success in the classroom where the cumulative average of all high school students, all taking a mandated full course load was over 84% at the conclusion of the hockey season. The culmination of the off-ice success of the Program occurred last month with Darnell Nurse winning the Bobby Smith Award as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year, Colin Miller being named the recipient of the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy and Ryan Sproul taking OHL and CHL honours for Defenceman of the Year.
"Obviously, this commitment from ownership would never have come to be possible without the efforts of Sheldon Keefe, Joe Cirella and our scouting staff in having great success identifying, and developing the young men who have been members of our Program. In particular I would like to thank our Director of Player Development and my friend, Wes Clark, for his absolutely tremendous job in working with the draft choices of our Program and developing them into players who are totally ready on and off the ice once they entered our Program” stated Dubas.
"Most importantly, I'd like to thank my family, friends and my fiancé Shannon for her continued support, particularly through some of the difficult learning pains we experienced during the initial stretch here with the Program” he continued.
Later this month the Hounds expect to have at least 3 players selected in the NHL Entry Draft, led by Darnell Nurse, who is the top rated draft eligible player in the Ontario Hockey League. Next season the Hounds return the likes of Matthew Murray, Nurse, Alex Gudbranson, Tyler Ganly, Andrew Fritsch, Jared McCann, and Sergey Tolchinsky.
And while the 2013-14 season is still over two months away, both Dubas and Lukenda finished with their thoughts on the upcoming season and future of the Program.
"I am very aware of how important these upcoming seasons are for our Program and I am very excited to continue to work with all of the members of our Program as we enter this pivotal stretch and work towards providing a team that contends perennially for the fans of Sault Ste. Marie” said Dubas.
Concluded Lukenda, "With a talented young group including Darnell Nurse, Jared McCann, Sergey Tolchinsky, Blake Speers, Colton White to name a few, both in terms of talent and character, we felt it was the right time to have our leader and the man who has assembled this group secured so that he can continue to propel our Club to the heights that our city deserves."
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)