By Ryan Laverty
The decision is in. Scott Atkinson, of Mount Royal College fame, has been selected as the University of Calgary’s newest men’s hockey coach. After 15 years with the Cougars, Atkinson has made the trip north and will be looking to lead the Dinos to the top of the Canada West Conference heap.
"It was definitely a difficult decision to leave [Mount Royal]," admitted Atkinson. "But, this is a golden opportunity for me. As far as I am concerned, this is the pinnacle."
After eight years as a tenured instructor at Mount Royal, and leading the Cougars to Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in three of the last four years, the 48-year-old is excited about the chance to coach at the university level.
"At Mount Royal, I taught and coached so I’m looking forward to concentrating on coaching."
Much like any other year for the Dinos hockey squad, the Golden Bears from Edmonton will be a fierce competitor. And, with the loss of quality players like Judd Casper and Matt Holmes, the Dinos definitely have their work cut out for them.
"To win you need quality guys. They are the core to any team," explained the new coach. "So, recruiting is crucial. I know [former coach] Tim Bothwell had a lot of that in order before he left, but other teams haven’t been sitting around waiting for a new coach at U of C. Things are going to start today."
"I have to analyze where we are right now with who we have and then fill in the holes," Atkinson added. "There is a sense of urgency, but we have to make smart decisions."
While his record speaks for itself, Atkinson understands he will be measured by his success here and now, not the past. And after the Dinos’ average performance last year, finishing fourth in the conference with a 13-12-3 record, fans will be chomping at the bit to get back to form from seasons past.
"I realize the importance of this team to the university, and I thoroughly understand the importance of beating U of A," the new coach remarked. "And I’ve been in this situation before."
The team hits the ice shortly after classes begin and Atkinson expects a lot of enthusiasm and excitement from the 2001/2002 Dinos.
"I want solid guys who will buy into my philosophy," the new coach said. And as for that philosophy? "Don’t sit back, because we’re coming to get you."
With a leader like Atkinson behind the bench, this year’s squad should have no problems making their way to the top.