Coach George Burnett fired after one season with Hamilton Bulldogs

Sports Apr 05, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

The Hamilton Bulldogs have said goodbye to George Burnett.

On Monday afternoon, the Ontario Hockey League club announced the 54-year-old will not return as head coach and general manager. Bulldogs president Steve Staios has replaced him as GM.

"It is the business and I understand it completely," Burnett said by phone Monday evening. He also said he respects the timing of the decision — that is, that it came early enough to allow him to regroup, move forward and "see if there are other opportunities that present themselves" in the off-season.

A new head coach has yet to be named.

Burnett joined the Bulldogs a year ago when Michael Andlauer purchased the Belleville Bulls and moved them to Hamilton. Under his watch, they finished 25-35-8-0 in their inaugural season — four points shy of a playoff berth and ninth in their conference.

A two-time OHL coach of the year, Burnett has also manned the bench for the Oshawa Generals, Niagara Falls Thunder and Guelph Storm, as well as a pair of AHL teams and the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. He spent 11 seasons at the helm in Belleville.

Staios said Burnett brought a lot of positives to the team and was "instrumental" in its transition to Hamilton. However, he also said there's both room and need for improvement.

"It's never easy," he added. "We gave it the season, enough time to settle down and make sure there was no emotion in the decision."

As for his new duties as GM, Staios expects the changeover to be relatively seamless. In addition to overseeing the business side of the Bulldogs, he was also intimately involved in hockey operations — everything from scouting to player evaluation — behind the scenes this campaign.

"I did all of that," he said, "so the transition won't be as great as some might see from the outside."

It was also important to both him and owner Andlauer to separate the coaching and management roles, which they agree are "too much to do in tandem." For instance, Burnett chose to skip practices and the Bulldogs season finale in Kingston to scout at minor midget tournaments and tryouts late in the year.

When asked about plans for hiring a new head coach, Staios said he's in no hurry. His immediate priority is this weekend's OHL draft, followed by the club's orientation camp in mid-April.

There is, however, one "obvious candidate" for the job — Staios's words. That's associate coach Troy Smith, a Hamilton native with a decade of OHL coaching experience, including nine years with the Kitchener Rangers, the last two of which he was the head coach.

That said, he will still be accepting resumés.

"I feel the position deserves the respect of going through the process," he added.

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec

Coach George Burnett fired after one season with Hamilton Bulldogs

Sports Apr 05, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

The Hamilton Bulldogs have said goodbye to George Burnett.

On Monday afternoon, the Ontario Hockey League club announced the 54-year-old will not return as head coach and general manager. Bulldogs president Steve Staios has replaced him as GM.

"It is the business and I understand it completely," Burnett said by phone Monday evening. He also said he respects the timing of the decision — that is, that it came early enough to allow him to regroup, move forward and "see if there are other opportunities that present themselves" in the off-season.

A new head coach has yet to be named.

Burnett joined the Bulldogs a year ago when Michael Andlauer purchased the Belleville Bulls and moved them to Hamilton. Under his watch, they finished 25-35-8-0 in their inaugural season — four points shy of a playoff berth and ninth in their conference.

A two-time OHL coach of the year, Burnett has also manned the bench for the Oshawa Generals, Niagara Falls Thunder and Guelph Storm, as well as a pair of AHL teams and the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. He spent 11 seasons at the helm in Belleville.

Staios said Burnett brought a lot of positives to the team and was "instrumental" in its transition to Hamilton. However, he also said there's both room and need for improvement.

"It's never easy," he added. "We gave it the season, enough time to settle down and make sure there was no emotion in the decision."

As for his new duties as GM, Staios expects the changeover to be relatively seamless. In addition to overseeing the business side of the Bulldogs, he was also intimately involved in hockey operations — everything from scouting to player evaluation — behind the scenes this campaign.

"I did all of that," he said, "so the transition won't be as great as some might see from the outside."

It was also important to both him and owner Andlauer to separate the coaching and management roles, which they agree are "too much to do in tandem." For instance, Burnett chose to skip practices and the Bulldogs season finale in Kingston to scout at minor midget tournaments and tryouts late in the year.

When asked about plans for hiring a new head coach, Staios said he's in no hurry. His immediate priority is this weekend's OHL draft, followed by the club's orientation camp in mid-April.

There is, however, one "obvious candidate" for the job — Staios's words. That's associate coach Troy Smith, a Hamilton native with a decade of OHL coaching experience, including nine years with the Kitchener Rangers, the last two of which he was the head coach.

That said, he will still be accepting resumés.

"I feel the position deserves the respect of going through the process," he added.

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec

Coach George Burnett fired after one season with Hamilton Bulldogs

Sports Apr 05, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

The Hamilton Bulldogs have said goodbye to George Burnett.

On Monday afternoon, the Ontario Hockey League club announced the 54-year-old will not return as head coach and general manager. Bulldogs president Steve Staios has replaced him as GM.

"It is the business and I understand it completely," Burnett said by phone Monday evening. He also said he respects the timing of the decision — that is, that it came early enough to allow him to regroup, move forward and "see if there are other opportunities that present themselves" in the off-season.

A new head coach has yet to be named.

Burnett joined the Bulldogs a year ago when Michael Andlauer purchased the Belleville Bulls and moved them to Hamilton. Under his watch, they finished 25-35-8-0 in their inaugural season — four points shy of a playoff berth and ninth in their conference.

A two-time OHL coach of the year, Burnett has also manned the bench for the Oshawa Generals, Niagara Falls Thunder and Guelph Storm, as well as a pair of AHL teams and the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. He spent 11 seasons at the helm in Belleville.

Staios said Burnett brought a lot of positives to the team and was "instrumental" in its transition to Hamilton. However, he also said there's both room and need for improvement.

"It's never easy," he added. "We gave it the season, enough time to settle down and make sure there was no emotion in the decision."

As for his new duties as GM, Staios expects the changeover to be relatively seamless. In addition to overseeing the business side of the Bulldogs, he was also intimately involved in hockey operations — everything from scouting to player evaluation — behind the scenes this campaign.

"I did all of that," he said, "so the transition won't be as great as some might see from the outside."

It was also important to both him and owner Andlauer to separate the coaching and management roles, which they agree are "too much to do in tandem." For instance, Burnett chose to skip practices and the Bulldogs season finale in Kingston to scout at minor midget tournaments and tryouts late in the year.

When asked about plans for hiring a new head coach, Staios said he's in no hurry. His immediate priority is this weekend's OHL draft, followed by the club's orientation camp in mid-April.

There is, however, one "obvious candidate" for the job — Staios's words. That's associate coach Troy Smith, a Hamilton native with a decade of OHL coaching experience, including nine years with the Kitchener Rangers, the last two of which he was the head coach.

That said, he will still be accepting resumés.

"I feel the position deserves the respect of going through the process," he added.

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec