With the recent news that former Head Coach Jesse Wallin was let go from his position with the Red Deer Rebels, the team continues to move forward under the direction of the organization’s Owner/President/General Manager Brent Sutter.
“It’s a tough situation,” Sutter said of Wallin’s dismissal. “Wally has been here for a long time – eight years – going into his fifth year as a head coach. There are times in your life as a coach when things hit a road block and your message just doesn’t seem to be getting through to the players and it was certainly recognizable and Jesse sensed that it was not at the level he would like it to be and with that we’ve had a lot of inconsistencies with our game.
“We had a tough year last year with missing the playoffs with all the injuries and so forth and we never got on track this year. We never had a good start to the season. After meeting with him and going through some things we had to make a change.
“It was a tough day for him. I know what he’s going through and I know what he felt like. It’s a huge disappointment for him and I’m sure he was hurt with it too and yet him and I are good friends and yet we had a good understanding of it’s what’s best for the organization.”
Wallin was in his fifth season as head coach, starting in that role in the 2008-09 season. Wallin was also an assistant coach from 2005-07 and associate coach in 2007-08. He also played with the Rebels from 1994-98 before a six-year professional career.
Now, Sutter is on the hunt for a new head coach for the Rebels but said he’s not in a rush to make any decisions.
“I don’t have a timetable. I’m going to be patient through it. I want it to be the right guy. Until that times comes I’ll continue to coach the team.”
Until then, the team will continue to press on and strive to improve their game, he said. Sutter has already made some changes by adding Jeff Truitt as associate coach.
“It’s getting these kids’ confidence back and getting them playing at the level and standard that we all want them to play at and the same levels and standards that Jesse wanted them to play at – it’s just the message is coming from a different person. By adding Jeff to the team on a coaching capacity is huge too. You’ve got someone who was a coach at the major junior level and the pro-level too and he’s a good communicator. He’ll add to our staff.”
Sutter added Wallin may not leave the Rebels’ organization for good and hopes he will return in a different capacity.
“It’s his option as far as if he wants to stay on or not. I guess it will depend whether he wants to do it and if he does it depends on what kind of position it is. Jesse’s a good hockey man. But he might choose to want to do something else in his life or he might end up with another organization somewhere,” said Sutter. “Him and I are going to sit down, but I wanted him to get away from it and spend some time with his kids and his wife and just be and think everything through.”
– with files from Tanis Reid