With their season ended by the Port Hope Panthers last week, in Game 5 of the provincial quarterfinals, the Port Perry MoJacks will now turn their attention to filling the vacancy behind their bench in the wake of head coach Clair Cornish's resignation earlier this week.
Cornish, a Scugog Sports Hall of Famer, member of the 1990 Memorial Cup Champion Oshawa Generals and decorated former MoJacks player, took over head coaching duties for the 2014-15 season after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach.
This past season he guided the MoJacks to the sixth Cougar Cup championship in club history, as the MoJacks rolled through the COJHL playoffs, knocking off the defending champion Clarington Eagles in five games to claim the title.
However, with two growing children with athletic pursuits of their own, Cornish informed the MoJacks' Board of Directors of his intentions to step down from his post on Monday, April, 4.
"It's a full-time job to run a really good hockey program, and I didn't feel that I would be able to make that same commitment to the team this coming year," Cornish explained to The Standard.
Without Cornish at the helm, the MoJacks appear poised to continue to contend for COJHL championships, and ultimately provincial titles for years to come with a solid core of returning player, and a revitalized program that can attract talented newcomers.
"I think that the MoJacks' program has proven that it can move players onto higher levels of competition. And, they can bring in strong players with a commitment to a winning culture, which is something I really tried to instill and emphasize over the past four seasons," added Cornish.
The news comes on the heels of the most successful season of MoJacks hockey in a decade, which came to an end in Port Hope on Tuesday, March 29, with a 4-1 loss to the Panthers in Game 5 of the Clarence Schmalz Cup provincial quarterfinals.
Ethan Ramsden opened the scoring, netting the lone goal of the night for Port Perry just over five minutes into the action, with assists credited to Andrew Pickering and Bryce Patterson. However, the Panthers would prove too strong, scoring four unanswered goals to advance to the provincial semifinals.
“As you get older, you realize just how tough it is to win, and there are a lot of good players and programs out there, and it's a testament to the hard work of everyone involved with the MoJacks that we were able to advance as far as we did," Cornish said.
The MoJacks will begin interviewing candidates for the vacant head coaching position shortly, ahead of the team's prospect evaluation camp later this spring.
Stay tuned to The Standard for any updates on the position.