Panthers Make Coaching Change as Armstrong Takes BC Hockey Role

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From the Peninsula Panthers

December 3, 2012, Sidney, BC – The Peninsula Panthers Junior B Hockey Club is pleased to announce that former Assistant Coach Brian Passmore has been appointed Head Coach following the departure of Rob Armstrong who has left the team to pursue a position with BC Hockey.

It took less than 10 hours for Peninsula Panthers owner Pete Zubersky to ink his new head coach to a contract after the incumbent Rob Armstrong stepped down to jump on an opportunity with BC Hockey.

Pete Zubersky, John Wilson and Brian Passmore met over lunch last spring and the three left exchanging handshakes as Passmore was welcomed into the Organization as an assistant coach. “Passy” has some excellent pedigree and after he had departed the meeting, both Wilson and Zubersky believed that they had hired a top-end coach. He had a reputation as a teacher and as a players’ coach and the two could not have been happier with coming to terms with their new assistant coach.

Fast forward to last Wednnesday night when Passmore and Zubersky met at the Bear Mountain Arena taking in a game which featured the Westshore Wolves and the Victoria Cougars. One might forgive the two for not exactly paying close attention to the game as they were in deep discussion over Passmore becoming the new Head Coach of the Club after the incumbent Rob Armstrong indicated to Zubersky when they met for a coffee that he had accepted a position with the BC Hockey Office. Several people stopped to chat with Passmore and Zubersky throughout the game asking how the “Scouting was going,” or simply passing along well wishes. But the two had business on their mind and what better place to do it than at a VIJHL game.

“I asked him what his best case scenario would be now that Rob was stepping down and Passy did not pull any punches. He said that he wanted the job and that he felt he was more than ready to step in,” said Zubersky. “I knew he was the right guy. We discussed what he needed to do, the players, everything about coaching except the terms of the agreement and that impressed me. I know that we will not miss one step with Passmore taking over, especially with Ben King right there by his side. These are two great hockey people and they will be running what I believe is a great hockey program.”

I am truly fortunate to be given this opportunity from the Panthers ownership group,” explained Passmore. “Ben and I are both on the same page and we discuss our opinions on teams, players, and hockey systems. It has worked in nailing down a game plan in the past and helped us to determine how to handle individual players on our squad and it will continue to be a free flow of information between the two of us.”

Passmore has a very simple philosophy and that is to hold every player accountable to one another. “I describe my style as a coach quite simply – I am honest and respectful to all players and will continue to be myself and have fun with this. Ben and I have similar attitudes about the game and I am happy to continue to work closely with him. We want to be a very hard team to play against and teams that play us will have to earn everything. We are a tight-knit group and we will remain that way.”

Passmore had a bit to say about his outgoing friend. “I am very happy for Rob and his family and I wish Rob all the best in his new venture. I will make sure to contact him from time to time and talk hockey and I hope to remain friends with him both at and away from the rink. Rob did a remarkable job with this team, he has created a fun environment for the players and has a great ability to develop young hockey players. Ben and I will do our very best to do the same.”

“It took less than 10 hours after Rob had told me that he was leaving that Passy was confirmed as the guy,” said Zubersky. “He was an easy and obvious choice, I never even slept on it, I never even considered anyone else. There is some real nice continuity that has happened and I don’t think we will skip a beat.”

Zubersky was asked who will replace the vacated Assistant Coaching role. “Right now we are comfortable to go with Passmore and King. I don’t want to bring another guy in just for the sake of bringing in a guy. It has to be the right person if we were to do anything and so that would take a bit of time should we decide to make a move. I would think we will finish off the year just as we are now and re-evaluate our situation after we run our spring evaluation camp in mid-April.”

There is no doubt that this deal was consummated quite quickly – the two even had time to watch the final ten minutes of the game. Passmore flew back to Ontario Thursday evening to be with his father who will be turning 60 but will be back running his first practice as a head coach on Tuesday evening at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

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