The Sugar Kings will be under some new, but not completely unfamiliar leadership next season as Jeff Snyder was selected to be the director of hockey operations and Kevin Bloch was chosen as general manager.
The two have worked with the Sugar Kings together before and also with the Kitchener Rangers, so the pairing is ideal, said team president Dave O’Donoghue.
“They just stood out above and beyond,” O’Donoghue said. “It was just an outstanding opportunity to bring the two of them together and back into the Sugar Kings fold. We had a lot of good applicants and I’m very happy with the two we were able to choose.”
They advertised the positions a few months ago after GM Paul Jennings resigned and hockey operations director Keith Stewart told the team he’d be finished after this season
Snyder’s an assistant coach for the Kings now, and led the team to two Cherrey Cups and one Sutherland Cup championship during his time as GM and head coach from 1996 to 1998.
“I’m excited about it,” Snyder said. “It’s a new challenge and a good opportunity to work with a good friend of mine, Kevin Bloch. I worked with him when I was here before and when I was with the Rangers in Kitchener. So I’m pretty familiar with him and have a lot of respect for his hockey knowledge and his judgment of talent. I’m really looking forward to it.”
He said with Jennings and Stewart both leaving, he saw the need to fill the hole and felt he could help the organization with his experience.
O’Donoghue notes Snyder and Bloch have both coached the Kings and been general managers at one point in time.
“Jeff obviously also has the sledge hockey experience on a national level,” O’Donoghue said. “He has tremendous hockey contacts throughout the levels. Kevin as well has recently been scouting with the Oshawa Generals so he obviously has a great eye for talent. The recruiting as well as his contacts are going to be a great asset to the organization as well.
It’s still uncertain if Snyder will continue to coach alongside his new role. O’Donoghue said it’s up to him and they’ll gladly have him continue coaching if he wants.
“If he has to commit some time to coaching there’s certainly enough help that can get everything else done.” O’Donogue said.
They were considering hiring someone to be the GM, and another person to be the assistant GM, depending on their experience but they decided to stick with the original job titles.
“There’s a lot of overlap in the positions,” O’Donaghue said. “The GM is recruiting, the scouting. The director of hockey is handling the business side of the hockey operations, booking the ice and taking care of the equipment, running all the people on the team, the coaching staff and the training staff.”
Most importantly, Snyder and Bloch are community minded people, an important consideration for the Sugar Kings.
“They’re great local community ties and ties to the Sugar Kings. We’re a community run team. That aspect of it is the most exciting to us,” O’Donaghue said.
He continued, “They have the great hockey chops as well. To be able to bring somebody in that has those kinds of local ties. … They’re excited to be back and they’re excited to be together and it’s going to show throughout the team and the community.”