The short-history of the Mentor Ice Breakers of the Federal Hockey League has been nothing short of interesting.
Today, the saga got more confusing as the team officially announced that General Manager and Head Coach Joe Pace, Sr. has been replaced by former NHLer, and AC/AGM Iain Duncan.
Or rather, the press release didn’t once mention Pace, Sr.
In the release, “team ownership” justified the hiring/promotion of Duncan with a sans of Pace, Sr.
“We had the opportunity to grab a local ex-NHLer with a lot of coaching experience. This was something that we had to jump on as we look to hit the ground running with a successful first season.”
Which is good and fine; can’t blame an organization for bringing the best talent aboard.
Except the team had already had Duncan hired before firing Pace, Sr., so this isn’t a justification, but almost a rehashing of their initial release of the hiring.
Pace, Sr. as most know was formerly the GM/HC of Port Huron, and has had his share of controversial stops in the FHL.
Upon the hiring of Pace, Sr., rumors had began rapidly swirling that Soskin had a hand in the Mentor organization, despite being locally-owned by two men.
According to local sources in that region of the FHL, Pace, Sr.’s firing may be mostly attributed to his work ethic. Especially in the situation of Mentor, where time is battling against the organization, there can be no dead-weight. Pace, Sr. had been using the work of his staff to boost his own credit without himself putting in the same level of effort.
A firing this quickly in, though, makes the situation seem closer to Soskin after all. Only someone who has worked closely with Pace, Sr. would know of his alleged-track record and be able to justify pulling the trigger.
Per a source of ours in the Mentor-area, Pace, Sr. attempted to go over-the-heads of the city council, league, and other teams to get a locker room lease together with the Civic Arena. This instance allegedly was the final straw.
This is an unfortunate-looking misstep early on in the Ice Breakers organization, however, let’s give the team some credit. If they truly let go of dead weight, then promoting a former NHLer to GM/HC is a great, immediate replacement.
Doing it this early into their season can look bad on the outside, but doing it this quickly also works to get the ship righted immediately.
Everything surrounding Mentor has been about doing it right, no matter how long it takes. This could turn out to be a great decision, but puts an unfortunate mark on the Mentor name early.
We anxiously await to see what comes next for the FHL racing towards opening night.