The Ottawa 67’s have made massive news by signing head coach André Tourigny and general manager James Boyd to six-year extensions while assistant GM Jan Egert and associate coach Mario Duhamel also sign multi-year extensions to keep all four working for the barber poles for the foreseeable future.
All have been massively impactful on the success of the club over the past two seasons and have helped the 67’s once again become one of the OHL’s marquee franchises. There was some doubt that all of them would return but having them back is a massive win for the club.
Tourigny’s Massive Day
Before the news broke that he had signed a big extension with the 67’s, Hockey Canada announced that Tourigny had signed a one-year contract to put him behind the bench of the Canadian national team at some of the world’s biggest events. Tourigny will serve as the head coach of Team Canada at the 2022 World Juniors in Edmonton and Red Deer and the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Tampere, Finland. Beyond that, he will serve as the assistant coach at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia, and the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China.
Even earlier in the morning, Tourigny decided to play insider to his own news and sent some OHL fans into a frenzy when they speculated that there might be some news about the 67’s returning to play. Regardless, he was right that it would be a hell of a day.
With a crack at being an insider and a contract from Hockey Canada now announced, it was the 67’s turn to get in on the action, announcing that they had signed their most successful coach since Brian Kilrea to a long-term contract extension. Tourigny has been at the forefront of turning the 67’s from a midfield team that consistently underperformed to a team that could compete for a championship in back-to-back season. He is a coach that can get the very best out of a player more often than not and deserves a whole lot of credit for what he and his players have accomplished.
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He has quickly become one of the more intriguing names to watch when talking about coaches at any level of hockey. With back-to-back 50 plus win seasons under his belt in Ottawa, he was hired to be the head coach of the 2021 World Junior team that lost to the Americans in the gold medal game. There was plenty of talk about what NHL team might hire Tourigny, and there could have been some interest from pro clubs, but that can now be put to bed.
Tourigny has nearly two decades of head-coaching experience in junior hockey after he was hired in November of 2002 by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. For the 2013-14 season, Tourigny headed to the NHL, where he would serve two seasons as the assistant coach of the Colorado Avalanche and one season with the Ottawa Senators. He would be the head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads for one season before resigning to become the head coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations for the 67’s in 2017.
“Being able to work for and with such a great group of leaders is a privilege I am grateful and fortunate to have had for the last four years,” said Tourigny. “I would also like to thank my management partner, General Manager James Boyd, for the unbelievable relationship we have built together over the years. The 67’s players, management, the fans and coaches have grown together to build a strong bond and feeling of belonging over these four seasons. It is with tremendous pride and excitement that I look ahead to all that is to come for the Ottawa 67’s and our incredible fans.”
The contract with Hockey Canada will cause some complications with Tourigny, however.
It won’t be Duhamel’s first shot of being a bench-boss as he has served that role with Rouyn-Noranda, Drummondville, and Gatineau in the past, but there is no question that it will be a big opportunity for him to run the team.
Duhamel’s Big Opportunity
If and/or when the OHL does return to play, it is likely that Duhamel would be the one behind the bench for the 67’s. The 2021 IIHF World Championship begins at the end of May, meaning that Tourigny will likely be preparing to leave or already left by the time the season starts.
As per the earlier Tweet, Duhamel will run the bench, but with Tourigny still in the building, he won’t be left to his own devices while running the team. While Tourigny has been away with Team Canada in the past, coaches have been able to talk to Tourigny when needed. That shouldn’t change especially when they will be in the same building more often than not.
This is a huge opportunity for Duhamel, however. Taking over a team as successful as the 67’s over the past two seasons is nearly an impossible task, but if he is able to make things happen, he will open doors for himself to become a head coach elsewhere should he choose to do so.
Boyd and Egert Make a Great Team
Outside of the coaches being extended, two more critical personnel were brought back to the team as well. Boyd and Egert have worked minor miracles with the franchise since leaving the Mississauga Steelheads and coming to the 67’s in 2017. There has been a standard set for the franchise under the reign of these two. Trades have been made considering the future, as well as the current, and draft choices, which have been calculated and bring good value for the most part.
“It is exciting to formalize an extension with the Ottawa 67’s,” said Boyd. “OSEG has never wavered from their commitment to this team and the goal of providing exciting family entertainment for our fans. The extension of the Hockey Operations staff is more evidence of that commitment. I look forward to continuing the exciting work we have been doing on the ice and in the community with the 67’s and OSEG.”
The most successful junior hockey teams will have some of their young players step up and play crucial roles, and that is something the 67’s have had in their most recent seasons. In the 2018-19 season, it was players like Jack Quinn and Marco Rossi, and in the 2019-20 season, it was Jack Matier and Jack Beck. Having an influx of OHL-ready talent is critical, and it’s something that people don’t give Egert who also serves as the Director of Scouting for the club.
Having both Boyd and Egert back is important for the club going forward. There was a handful of years after the team was forced to leave Lansdowne Park and play out of the now Canadian Tire Centre, where poor coaching and mismanagement hurt the team’s chances at winning games, but under the new regime, that has changed for the better.
In Good Hands For Years To Come
After two of the best seasons in franchise history, it was clear that the changes made to bring in new people just a few years ago had paid off. The 67 know that the best way to continue to build the best program possible was to bring them back and allow them to continue what they had been doing, and now they will have that chance. If everyone continues doing their job the way they have, the 67’s will be in great hands and will be competing for championships more often than not.
Currently a journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, I have always had a passion for the OHL and the Ottawa 67’s in particular. I have been attending games since I was young, and being involved with sports has always been a dream of mine. Sports writing fits perfectly into that. You can also find me talking and writing other sports (primarily Canadian football) on my website 13thmansports.ca!