The Hawkesbury Hawks have a rich history of coaches that have gone on to great things at the higher levels.
Former Hawks’ bench boss Bob Hartley, whose name adorns their home rink, has coached in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche (where he won a Stanley Cup in 1999), the Atlanta Thrashers and Calgary Flames, as well as in Switzerland.
Eric Veilleux left Hawkesbury and went on to coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for 8 seasons and is now the head coach for the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League.
On September 9th 2017, current Hawks’ Head Coach Rick Dorval cemented his name in team history, when Hawkesbury defeated the Smiths Falls Bears 6-4, becoming the winningest coach in team history with 125 wins (and counting), surpassing Hartley (118), Mac Maclean (117), Veilleux (97) and Doug Harvey (88).
Dorval’s arrival in Hawkesbury in 2014 was low-key, but he slowed shaped the franchise to what it is now.
After a 4 year career that saw Dorval amass 258 points (99G – 159A) in 202 games in the CJHL, he coached with the Gloucester Rangers and Ottawa Junior Senators (winning the CCHL Coach of the Year Award in 2012-2013) before joining the Hawks as an associate coach in 2014.
It wasn’t long before Rick replaced Shawn Anderson as the head coach, and that is when he began his run at history.
Not only has Coach Dorval reshaped the franchise, carrying a winning percentage over .675 since taking over, but he has paved the way for many players to careers in the NCAA, including Johnathan Kovacevic, the Winnipeg Jets’ 3rd round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Now serving as the Hawks’ GM as well as head bench boss, Dorval has started the 2017-2018 campaign with one of the youngest rosters in team history, while still maintaining his normal level of excellence, with a 9-4 record thus far.
With his pedigree and work ethic, as well as his success, it won’t be long before teams from Major Junior or the professional ranks come calling to get Rick on their staffs. He’s been a winner at every level, and he’s just warming up.