It wasn’t easy for Carter Duffin to do, but he’s leaving the Castlegar Rebels to join the Lloydminster Bobcats as its assistant coach-assistant GM.
“It was definitely one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make,” says Duffin, a Red Deer native. “Over the last three years we’ve built this program and developed a new, high-energy, positive culture in our program. From players, to how we operate at the management level. Being a part of that was really exciting.”
Taking this step is the right opportunity for Duffin in his career as he looks to one day run his own junior A program. The work he has done with the Rebels gives him the confidence he can make an impact in his new role with the Bobcats, working alongside coach-GM Nigel Dube, who he has known for years.
“When him and I started chatting about the opportunity and what he was looking for, what he needed, and what his expectations were … it started to get me a little excited and it put me in a spot where I feel like I can go in and be very effective supporting him and the organization moving forward,” says Duffin. “I’m excited to go in there and continue to be mentored by him and to be able to support and continue to grow myself.”
In announcing the hiring on their website, the Bobcats say they took their time through the off-season in finding the right candidate to work with Dube, who looks forward to the addition of Duffin.
“Carter is a coach who is eager to learn, dedicated to the game, and willing to work with the players in reaching their goals on and off the ice,” says Dube on lloydminsterbobcats.ca. “We were looking to add someone to our staff who had experience and was familiar with the junior game, Carter has that.”
Duffin credits his time in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and what he has been able to accomplish in developing players – helping them reach higher levels, to earning this opportunity.
“The KI is a great opportunity for any coach to come in and to continue to learn his trade and understand what it takes to run an effective and efficient program,” he says. “To really develop skills that are needed to continue on at the next level. Our program in the KI, we ran it as close as we could to a junior A program.”
Duffin knows how junior A programs operate as he was with the Virden Capitals in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the Estevan Bruins in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League prior to joining the Rebels.
“The expectations for myself as a head coach and general manager are very similar to what it takes at the junior A level,” he explains. “It’s bigger and there are more roles and responsibilities for head coaches at that level. When we do those steps, coaches from the KI are prepared, which is very similar to what we try to do with our players.
“We try to develop our players to be ready to take that next step – to be successful at the next level,” he continues. “That isn’t limited to just players as we see coaches advancing to junior A. It shows the KI develops people in all aspects of the game.”
Duffin loved his time in Castlegar, coaching the players he has worked with, and working with the Rebels board and community. He enjoyed seeing the players get excited about community engagement and creating a program over the last few years that Castlegar can really be proud of.
“We have had some neat game night events. I look at our first responders night where we wore the firemen style jerseys. Little things like that connect us with the community,” he says.
On the Rebels Facebook page, president Mike Johnstone thanks Duffin for his incredible effort over the past three seasons.
“He came to our program during a period of transition and he’s led the way through some enormous change. He leaves the Rebels in a better place than when he arrived,” says Johnstone. “Our organization is in a fantastic position and Carter is a big part of that. I’m sad to see him leave, but I’m very proud of his work and development as a head coach and general manager over the past three years. I wish him nothing but the best in his new position. That’s a great hire for the Lloydminster Bobcats.”
As the Rebels begin their search for a new coach-GM, he’s willing to help with the transition and be a mentor because he wants to see the new person who takes over be able to build off of what he started.