London News & Search
The London Junior Knights AAA minor midget team plays its first tournament of the 2017-18 season in three and a half weeks.
They are still looking for a head coach.
The hockey organization has put that search into hyper-drive after Steve Benedetti, the bench boss who picked the roster in April, stepped down recently because of time commitments. He also gave up his assistant position with the Western Mustangs men’s hockey team this past spring.
The 36-year-old former pro works at LiveApp, a software technology company based in Waterloo.
“I’m commuting a lot between there and London, and it’s tricky,” Benedetti said. “I had to tell Clarke (Western coach Clarke Singer) in March I couldn’t do it (at the university) and my way in staying involved would be with the midgets in the evenings. But I’ve had a hard enough time in the summer and I don’t want to be that guy come November that can’t make the Monday nights or Friday for a tournament.
“I didn’t think it would be fair to the group.”
Benedetti shared the coaching duties the past four years with his brother Greg, who has opted to coach his son’s team at the Jr. Knights minor peewee AAA level. The Benedettis helped guide the ’16-17 Jr. Knights minor midgets to the No. 1 ranking in the province and the semifinal round of the OHL Cup.
Forward Ryan Suzuki was the first player selected in the most recent OHL draft by the Barrie Colts.
“Coaching minor hockey is, for the most part, a volunteer position,” Jr. Knights vice-president of operations Kevin Gardner said. “The Jr. Knights were very disappointed to lose Steve, but he’s still going to be around and involved in some capacity.
“In the meantime, we’re looking for a replacement.”
Steve Benedetti will continue to run the team’s workouts until a new coach is found. The 15-year-old age group has a lot of built-in pressure because of OHL draft implications.
“I told the Jr. Knights I would help with anything I can,” he said. “It’s a pretty major commitment at that level. I’m not walking away from hockey. It’s been a huge part of my life. This was a tough decision I had to make for this particular season, and then I’ll re-evaluate again for next year.”
London News & Search