True North Sports and Entertainment confirmed this week that it will not retain Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley. That announcement is leading to speculation that other changes will be in order for the franchise that is moving from Atlanta to Winnipeg.
True North has not commented on whether head coach Craig Ramsay will be retained. If they do make a change there, and that’s a big if, you have to wonder whether former Sioux assistant coach and player Brad Berry will be a darkhorse candidate.
Berry certainly is not a “name” coach, which Winnipeg may want as the team’s first coach. But it makes sense on a lot of other fronts.
Berry has NHL experience having served as the assistant coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the past year.
Craig Heisinger was the general manager of the Manitoba Moose under True North’s umbrella. While Heisinger may not be the GM of the Winnipeg team, co-owner Mark Chipman said that Heisinger will play an essential role within the team. Berry served as an assistant coach with the Moose under Heisinger and Chipman.
A third connection, which may help pull at the heart strings of hockey fans in Winnipeg, is that Berry is a Winnipeg Jet. He played for the Jets for five years in the 1980s.
So, he’s a former Winnipeg player, who has coached in the city under the current ownership group and hockey adviser, has a stellar reputation in hockey circles and has NHL coaching experience.
It may not be a big-name hire, but if Winnipeg doesn’t retain Ramsay, it’s a hire that would make a lot of sense.