Corey Beer will remain at the helm of the Timmins Rock beyond the term of his current three-year contract, which had been set to expire following the 2020 playoffs.
“We are very pleased to announce we have signed Coach Corey Beer to a new multi-year contract extension,” said Ted Gooch, president of the Timmins Rock.
“Corey’s ability to forge impactful relationships with everyone from players to staff has been a hallmark of his tenure with our organization and he is the absolute best coach for our hockey team.
“Corey’s ability to develop a strong culture, while continually adapting, has been a big part of our team’s success.
“He has set high standards for our organization with his unrelenting drive for excellence.
“And I personally want to thank Corey and his family for his continuous commitment to our organization.”
Under the guidance of the 35-year-old Oshawa native, the Rock have compiled a record of 40-10-1-1 during his third year at the helm of the NOJHL franchise.
Beer was hired by the Rock prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign to take over from long-time coach Paul Gagne, although the former Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) assistant coach got off to a late start, due to the aborted hiring of Ryan Woodward for the position earlier in the off season.
The Beer-led Rock managed to overcome that obstacle to finish fifth in the East Division standings, with a record of 19-31-3-3.
Then, in the 2018 playoffs, the Rock took out the Iroquois Falls Eskimos 2-1 in the best-of-three play-in survivor series and upset the Powassan Voodoos 4-2 in the East Division semi-finals, before eventually being eliminated 4-1 by the Cochrane Crunch, who went on to win the NOJHL championship.
The Rock carried that momentum from their playoff success into the 2018-19 regular season, finishing fourth in the East Division with a record of 33-20-3-0.
In the 2019 playoffs, the Rock swept the Crunch 2-0 in the East Division best-of-three play-in survivor series before taking the Hearst Lumberjacks to Game 7 of the East Division semi-finals, before bowing out 4-3.
This season, the Rock have battled the Voodoos toe-to-toe not only for top spot in the East Division, but also supremacy in the NOJHL’s overall standings.
“We certainly like the progress that has been made from his hiring until now, for sure, the continued drive for excellence and success,” Gooch said.
“We hope to continue in that direction moving forward from this point, hopefully winning a championship this season and putting a solid contender on the ice every year.”
Beer, who has been involved in the Canada East program for the past two seasons, is a rising star among young coaches and the Rock want to ensure he remained behind their bench for the foreseeable future.
“We truly believe in who he is and wanted to commit to him now,” Gooch said.
“We put a lot of importance on the word development and that is not just with our players, but of course with our coaching staff, as well.
“Corey had a phenomenal year with Team Canada East and we hope we will be a good stepping stone for him in his coaching career, helping him to get to the next stage of where he would like to take his coaching career.”
As one might expect, Beer was all smiles following the announcement of his contract extension.
“When I first moved up here, I didn’t know what to expect or how things would go but I got a good glimpse of what this organization was all about through that first season and into the playoffs,” he said.
“It was kind of a special run and from that point on I saw how things took off. We had a good year last season and we saw the support around town.
“This year, obviously, we are having a great season and it’s nice to be part of this program and this community.
“I can’t say enough good things. I joke all the time about how I grew up in Oshawa, but Timmins is as close to a second home as you can get. It is incredible here and I absolutely love it.
Beer shares the Rock organization’s goal of capturing not only a Dudley Hewitt Cup championship, but also a Centennial Cup title as the top Junior ‘A’ hockey team in Canada.
He also realizes you can’t sacrifice the future to go “all in” on winning just one championship.
“We want to have sustained success, year-in and year-out, and I think we are well on our way,” he said.
“It starts at the top with the kind of focus we have funneling down from our board of directors to our team president, to our general manager, to me and our assistant coaches and into the players.
“It is something that is contagious, that passion for winning and for doing things the right way.
“We have been highly successful at bringing in young players and giving them an opportunity to grow their games here, make the jump to the Major Junior level.
“We are hoping to open up NCAA opportunities for these guys, as well. I think there is Division I talent on this roster.
“I think it also speaks to the quality of program we have here that we have something like 10 or 11 returnees from last year’s team. We anticipate being around that number next year, as well, with the quality of people we have in this program, in terms of players and staff.
“Players want to be around good programs and places that will make them better. That goes for me, as well. This organization has given me an opportunity to grow and add to my resume and represent my country with Team Canada East.
“And the atmosphere in the McIntyre Arena is second to none in terms of any other place in Canada. It is absolutely incredible.
“I go back to that first year when we beat out Powassan, when this building started rocking and the fans began chanting, ‘Go Rock, go,’ and coming off the previous year and winning a national championship (with the Cougars), there was no comparison.”
Even two years removed from Tyler Gilberds Game 6 series-winning goal, there are some fans who maintain you can still hear the cheers echoing off the rafters at the McIntyre Arena.
“I think that is one of the reasons a guy like Ty wanted to come back and be part of this team again,” Beer said.
“You go somewhere else and you see the grass is not always greener in other spots. Him coming back here and wanting to again be part of our program is something that is infectious.”
Technically, Beer’s connection to Timmins predates his ever setting foot in the City with the Heart of Gold since the Cougars were owned by former resident Marc Mercier when he was serving as an assistant coach with the franchise.
“With Marc being from this area and I can’t tell you how many people from the Oshawa area have Timmins connections,” he said.
Beer is quick to share the credit for the team’s success with his assistant coaches, James Daschuk, Sean Lee and Marc Bisson.
“Being with my assistant coaches every day, they have to deal with me on my good days and on my bad days,” he said.
“The job they do is second to none. I would not be the type of head coach I am without the support from Beezer (Bisson), Dazz (Daschuk) and Sean, and (assistant general manager) Eric Paquette on the phone with me during my vent sessions when I am upset, or frustrated.
“And the relationship I have with (general manager) Kevin Peever and Ted Gooch is incredible. To be able to have that kind of transparency from a coach to a GM, to a president, with all of us sharing the same vision, is incredible.
“I am so proud to be a part of this organization.”
Gooch noted the status of the Rock assistant coaches, GM and assistant GM will be updated at a later date.
He said, “Corey has the ability to hire his own staff and I know he will look at the options. We would certainly love to have our assistant coaches back, but ultimately it will be Corey’s decision.
“Once the playoffs are completed, he will evaluate the staff, look at the options moving forward and get ready for the 2020-21 season.”