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Last year’s Ryerson Rams women’s hockey coach is heading to Sochi for the year, but her replacement, interim coach Pierre Alain, plans on bringing the Sochi style to her team while she’s away.
Alain, a coach who brings 27 years of experience to the team along with a couple gold medals with Canada’s national women’s teams, is hoping to lead the team the Promised Land.
To do this, the most significant change he’s making to his new squad is implementing a European style of play, à la Pavel Bure.
Alain plans to teach his players new schemes and plays more common overseas, including more of an emphasis on lateral skating and side-to-side puck movement.
“I’m big on that, and we have already worked on it and it’s adding to their game,” he says.
North-American style of play generally encourages moving the puck “north to south,” he says. Alain hopes to see the Rams doing a little more East to West this season.
Alain, a Quebecois and physical-education teacher began coaching women’s hockey in 1999 when Cégep de Saint‑Jérôme in Saint‑Jérôme, Que., started a women’s program, and his success was abundant. The team went on to win five provincial championships in the last eleven years. The Rams have not yet made it to the playoffs going into the third year of the program. Alain’s new players are already clear about this year’s goal.
“I hope to help lead this team to its first playoff push,” says team captain Janella Brodett. “And I’m excited to see our talent produce results under Pierre’s guidance.”
Alain knows he has big skates to fill, but says he’s extremely confident in this upcoming season and how to manage his players.
“I’ll be Pierre Alain,” he says. “I’ll bring my personality. I’ll bring what I believe in.”
In addition to a new coach with a European style of play, one of the bright spots of this year’s team is the new crop of good rookie talent. Brodett says the young core has the future of the team in firm hands.
“Our rookies have impressed us early in camp which only shows how much they will grow throughout their university career,” says Brodett.
“You can be sure to watch out for the Ryerson Rams for seasons to come.”
Alain says he is thankful to be coaching such a hard-working, dedicated team and is excited to have the opportunity to build on what Jordan has created.
“I pinch myself every morning I get in this building. This is a great place to work,” he says.
The 2014 season begins Sept. 13 against the Leaside Midget AA team at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on September 11, 2013.