Sports

Sockeyes put trust in Koen as new head coach

By Don Fennell

Published 3:02 PDT, Mon May 4, 2020

Last Updated: 1:41 PDT, Fri May 22, 2020

Bayne Koen is coming home. 

Or at least full circle. 

Koen is the new bench boss of the Richmond Sockeyes, the same junior hockey team with which his coaching career began as an assistant in the early 2000s. 

“It’s exciting to be back where it all started,” he says, taking a moment to reflect on the journey that began under the tutelage of Ron Johnson. 

“Ron was a big part of me getting into the coaching world,” Koen acknowledges. “I also played for him, and one of the things he taught me was patience and process. He had a very unique way of looking at the game, the skills and tactics, and taught me a lot of the stuff I still used to this day.” Like his mentor, Koen is big on systems and for players to promote themselves within the team culture. 

Not afraid to think outside the box, it was Johnson who converted a former Sockeyes forward to defence. That player—Jason Garrison—went on to play in the NHL, including with the Vancouver Canucks. 

Johnson was also fond of dividing the season into segments, comparing the stretches to a seven-game playoff series. Koen looks at the schedule similarly. 

“I look at where the team is at (different points) and try to build systematically—putting things in play we need to do every single day, whether in practice or in game play,“ Koen explains. “Taking a system approach, you understand Game 1 is game one and Game 44 is game 44, but it’s still a process that goes in between. (And then) you’ve got to be healthy and buy in to have success (in the playoffs) when the turnaround is so quick.”

Koen believes that by putting the players in situations to succeed they will prosper, both individually and collectively.

“Obviously, winning is a big part of it and we need to make sure the players buy in, and we stay the course,” he says. “You’re going to have bumps, but it’s what you do on the other end to get yourself out of those situations (that determines your level of success).” 

Doug Paterson, an original Sockeye when the team began in 1972, is thrilled to have Koen—an instructor at the highly regarded Delta Hockey Academy—back in the fold. 

“He brings all the important core values,” says Paterson, now part of the Sockeyes’ ownership group. “And he’s a former Coach of the Year, taking North Vancouver to the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Campbell River (in 2019).”

Paterson is also impressed by Koen’s efforts to continually better himself and believes he brings a knowledge of the game, and respect of his players, to help lift the Sockeyes to a higher level next season.

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