A major shake-up with the Delta Islanders Junior "A" Lacrosse Club has made a rippling impact on the Richmond Roadrunners Intermediate "A" team for the 2014 season.
After three outstanding seasons running the Roadrunners' program, Greg Rennie has accepted the head coaching position with the Islanders. He will also serve as the club's assistant general manager and be heavily involved in player personnel decisions.
Rennie guided Richmond to three consecutive provincial appearances, highlighted by a silver medal finish this summer. The Roadrunners also won a pair of regular season titles. He says he will help the club find a replacement and has a potential candidate in mine. His assistant coaches - Dave Perog and Ryan Keith - are also heading to Delta.
"It's tough to leave such an outstanding organization," said Rennie. "For all the guys coming back, I wish I could stay another year and go win a provincial championship but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up on. But I definitely will be helping them out with finding a new coaching staff."
The Islanders also announced Gary McBride has stepped down as president and replaced by Bruce Davidson, who will also continue on as general manager. Davidson's son Connor played for Richmond last season.
The developments added up to a harsh send-off for Islanders former head coach Shaun Springett who guided the club to its firstever berth in the league finals a year ago and had the team in contention again this past season. That changed in July when the club sent top scorers Cody Nass and Eli McLaughlin to the New Westminister Salmonbellies for prospects and draft picks. Nass led the B.C. Intermediate league in scoring in 2012 with Richmond before forgoing his final year of eligibility to play for Delta.
The fact Springett had no say in the transaction hinted the direction the Islanders were headed in 2014. However, it was a deal many believed had to be made with the organization thin on talent beyond next season.
Rennie's return gives the Islanders a coach who has had his finger on the pulse of the B.C. Intermediate "A" Lacrosse League. The Ladner native is also aware of the current talent at the midget level which will serve well for future drafts.
"This really has nothing to do with Shaun's ability as a coach," said Rennie on Monday. "He did a great job here. It had everything to do with scouting and recruiting. I never would have agreed to return if that trade with New West wasn't made because there would have been so little to work with beyond next season."
Springett had heard rumours in the summer the club was planning to go a different direction but thought there might have been a change in plans until he got the news late last week. He is expected to land on his feet very soon with another team.
"Lacrosse coaches are hired to be fired," he chuckled. "I thank the organization for the opportunity they gave me and I will really miss working with those kids. Sure, I was looking forward to making a run at a championship next season with the team we had coming back. If anything, I wished they had made the move at the time of the trade as it would have made more sense to me."
Meanwhile, Rennie has already been green lighted to shore up his roster for 2014 and promises it will be a very busy offseason, starting with the upcoming league AGM.
"We will be making some huge deals," promises Rennie. "You will see more trades (in the next five months) than you did in the past two years. We will definitely be looking at bringing some third-year guys to help push this team over the top."
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