A pair of wins in his first weekend as head coach of the Wellesley Applejacks has Tim Robb excited.
“This is a great opportunity,” he said. “I see a lot of potential in our room. There are a lot of young guys who need a coach with my abilities. I consider myself a players’ coach, but I will expect a lot of them.”
After the Jacks stumbled to a 3-9 start, Paul Wilkinson resigned last week as the head coach. Wilkinson joined the Jack’s staff after the 2013-14 season when longtime coach Rob Way left to spend more time with his family. General manager Bill Grebinski cited “personal reasons” for Wilkinson’s departure. Wilkinson declined to comment to The Observer.
Robb’s assent to the Junior hockey ranks culminates over a decade of coaching experience at increasingly competitive levels in Waterloo.
“I got into coaching at 24 in Waterloo coaching recreational players for something to do on the weekends,” he said. “And the love grew and grew and I was fortunate to spend some time with good coaches and I decided I wanted to spread my wings and move up the ranks. So basically over the last ten years I have stepped up level by level.”
Robb was working as an associate coach with the Waterloo Wolves Midget AAA squad when he got the call from Grebinski about the opening.
“I like the fact that he plays all four lines,” Grebinski said of his new coach. “I like the fact that he has an excellent line of communication with the players and he really does coach them on their level. And the communication in and out of the dressing room has been amazing right from the beginning when he met the guys they decided their roles and they decided where they wanted to go as a group. Tim won’t make a decision without checking to make sure everybody is good with it.”
He continued, “Not that there was anything wrong with the way Paul (Wilkinson) did things, Paul is extremely competitive, but Tim just brings a whole different coaching style.”
With wins over Tavistock (4-3 double OT) and Delhi (5-2) to start Robb’s tenure, it looks like the change may have given the team a shot in the arm.
For his part, Robb says there is enough talent on the roster to move up the standings (they are currently in eighth place of the nine-team division) and make a playoff push.
“I believe they skate well,” he said. “We aren’t an overly large team, so being able to use our speed to our advantage is going to be our biggest asset.”
And there is still a lot of hockey to play.
“One of the things I did go into the room and tell them is that you can’t look at the season as a whole right now,” Robb said. “We are going to look at everything as a five-game stint. We are going to compete to win three of five through the remainder.”