It's all over twitter as myself, Brendan Ullrich and Josh Lewis in Kindersly, Dan O'Connor and everyone else around the SJHL look for answers in today's big news.
If you haven't heard yet, as reported by Brenden Ullrich, the Klippers have relieved Head Coach and Director of Hockey Ops Larry Wintoneak of his duties. Rocky Zinger is in as interim head coach. The Klippers recently brought Zinger on as assistant coach, partially to fill the void Wintoneak left when he was coaching Team Canada West at the World Junior-A Challenge.
I'm not going to lie to ya, I have zero inside story on this, nor do I have any real answers. I gave Klippers President Rod Perkins a call, inadvertently interrupting a meeting, (something I have a talent for apparently) but he was kind enough to tell me he had no comment on the move. From the sound of his voice it's been a tough few days for the team.
Some of the scuttlebutt, also by way of Brendan is that Larry lost the room and players weren't happy. This seems to be pretty valid, the Klippers had around 4 players jump ship this year requesting trades or just leaving hockey. Also from hearing stories from his stint in La Ronge, it wouldn't be the first time.
Even with some of the rumours that had come out of Klipper Nation, this is still a shocking move. It's always a huge decision to change a coach mid-season, especially at this level where financials are so tight. The Klippers had Wintoneak on a two-year extension (that's from Clarion Sports' Josh Lewis) so it wouldn't have been just a personnel decision, but a big financial one as well.
Clearly things were 'wrong' enough to warrant eating the salary hit. It will definitely be interesting to see what develops as the fallout of this move in Kindersley.
Thanks to Brenden Ullrich and Josh Lewis for keeping everybody up to date. They'll have a clearer take on what's going on with the situation, so check out their blogs for more on the story in the coming days.