IROQUOIS FALLS - An Abitibi Eskimos former captain has returned to the fold.
Dan Dubé, 26, was a player for the Eskis in 2004/05 and 2006/07 where he racked up 98 points in 93 regular season games and eight points in 16 playoff games. Now he makes his living as a teacher.
He will be standing alongside head coach and general manger Paul Gagne and assistant coach Marc Cashmore as an assistant coach with the Eskis.
“Paul gave me a call a couple of weeks ago saying he would like to have me on board,” said Dubé. “I was happy to join the club and I hope to learn a lot from him and maybe start a coaching career.”
Dubé captained the Eskis the year they hosted the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2006/07.
He was also voted the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player and selected as the 1st All Star Team centre.
“The kid is Mr. Positive,” said Gagne. “He’s good with the kids, he has good manners, he’s good with people and he represents himself really well.”
But those aren’t all the reasons why he was asked to join the coaching staff.
As a former player, Dubé knows what it’s like to be junior ‘A’ hockey player, especially in a small town like Iroquois Falls where the players take on a celebrity status.
“I’ve been in many situations, I know what it’s like playing in Iroquois Falls where the fans are passionate,” said Dubé. “Players are kind of role models in the town and people ask them a lot of questions. I’ll be the guy who helps them out, keeps them positive.”
The benefit of having a former player join the Eskimos coaching ranks is that he is familiar with Gagne’s coaching style and system.
“He’s always helping me out at the hockey schools and development schools,” said Gagne. “He knows the game really well and as soon as we put him on board as an assistant, he will know his role. He will be a big help.”
Dubé added, “What better man to learn the game from than Paul. I’ve watched the last two games and I can see a night-and-day difference. It’s crazy. The guys are buying into the system. That will be my job too. Buy in guys, because it works.”
Gagne has yet to determine Dubé’s exact capacity with the Eskimos, but it could go one of two ways.
As of now, Gagne takes care of the forwards, Cashmore takes care of the defence, while Steve Hamel operates as the goalie coach.
One scenario is both Dubé and Cashmore take care of the defence while Gagne focuses on the forwards.
The other scenario is Cashmore handles the forwards, Dubé the defence and Gagne takes care of things on the ice as far as tactics.
“The head coach is going to be the bad cop sometimes and then sometimes the good cop,” said Gagne. “Assistant coaches are typically the middle man, supporter of the coach and the good cop.
“Sometimes the coach has to use different tactics to motivate the players.”
The Eskimos will take on the North Bay Trappers on Saturday at the Jus Jordan Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.