Sockeyes look to team builder as next coach of junior hockey club

By Don Fennell

Published 3:18 PDT, Wed May 10, 2017

Last Updated: 2:12 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

A familiar face, renowned for his creativity and team building, will be behind the bench of the Richmond Sockeyes this coming season.

Dipping into the local minor hockey pool for their new head coach, the Sockeyes hired Steve Robinson to lead the local Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) team going forward.

Robinson is coming off a busy, and successful, season guiding the Seafair Islanders Midget AAA and Delta Storm Peewee AA teams, and currently the Warriors spring hockey club. The Warriors, a collection of some of the top 16- to 20-year-olds in the region, won the recent Ernie McLean under-18 tournament played in Langley.

Speaking on behalf of the Sockeyes’ ownership group, Ron Paterson said Robinson’s appointment represented “a bit of a changing of the guard.”

“Judd (Lambert, who revealed his intention to step down after the 2016-17 season) enjoyed a lot of success coaching the last number of years, which included a couple of national championships,” Paterson said. “I really think (Robinson) offers an infusion of new energy, and he has an extensive relationship with minor hockey.”

“He brings a number of characteristics that make for a good coach; leadership being one thing, a passion that’s very evident, and hockey IQ,” Paterson continued. “All those are really representative in his presence, and he knows how to win. We think the development of not only our program, but our players as people is very important and that’s evident in Steve as well.”

The Sockeyes looked at a few applicants, but once they interviewed Robinson knew they had their next coach.

“I’m excited, for sure,” said Robinson, who was close to accepting a coaching opportunity in the PJHL previously.

Robinson wasn’t actively pursuing the opportunity to move up in the coaching ranks, but once Lambert made known his intention to step down he began revisiting the possibility; further encouraged by several players.

“Deep down we’re all competitors in our own way and interested to see if we can continue to succeed at another level,” he said.

Robinson believes confidence plays a major part in a team’s on-ice success. To that end, he says building—and retaining—player confidence is paramount.

“Hockey should be fun and I believe in allowing the players to play to their strengths rather than playing not lose,” he said. “I think coaches often get into a mentality of looking at what players aren’t rather than what they are. It’s important to align guys with complimentary skills and build on the good habits they have. Hockey is a game of mistakes and if you play it with so much structure that you’re suffocating the players then you’re not allowing them to become the players they can be.”

Robinson said teams typically boast similar talent bases, so it is the remaining players and how they develop that ultimately makes the difference.

“If you pick a kid (to be on the team) you’ve got to develop him,” he explained. “Everyone has a role, and while that’s occasionally adjusted, if a kid doesn’t feel included they check out emotionally and the team is not as strong.”

Robinson has just rounded out his coaching staff for the 2017-18 season, retaining Mike Ball as an assistant coach and adding two new assistants in Brett Reusch and Jordan Andrews. All former Sockeye players, Ball is the only holdover from the previous regime, while Reusch coached Cloverdale’s Midget A1 team last season and Andrews—only one season removed from captaining the Sockeyes—will bring what Robinson said is “a current players’ perspective and youthful energy to the group.”

“I am pleased with the process and selections and believe we have a great staff in place to lead the team into an exciting season with championship potential,” Robinson said.

FISH TALES: The first chance to see the new-look Sockeyes will be at the team’s annual Prospects Camp May 29 to June 2 at the Richmond Ice Centre. For more information email

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