Peter Sidorkiewicz survived three head coaching changes with the Erie Otters, including his own.
But after 14 seasons, his tenure with the OHL club is over. Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, has chosen not to renew Sidorkiewicz’s contract, which expires at the end of this season, because “they’re looking at going in another direction,” Sidorkiewicz said Friday.
Sidorkiewicz, 49, joined the Otters in 1999 to serve as assistant and goaltending coach under then-coach Dave MacQueen. He replaced MacQueen as coach before the 2006-07 season, but was demoted to assistant under coach Robbie Ftorek after posting an 18-62-1-2 record during one-plus seasons.
Sidorkiewicz, a former NHL goaltender, again chose to remain on staff after Kris Knoblauch was hired to replace Ftorek this past November.
Yet Sidorkiewicz said, “I’m not part of the plan” for the 2013-14 season. “I think they want to get a couple of younger coaches.
Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations, said the staff likely will include two full-time assistants and a part-time goaltending coach, although club officials wouldn’t rule out hiring one of the new assistants to also work with the goaltenders.
Bassin declined to comment on if Sidorkiewicz’s performance factored into the decision. The Otters topped 300 goals allowed – 650 in all – the past two seasons, and their goaltenders – Ramis Sadikov and Devin Williams in 2011-12, as well as Oscar Dansk and Williams this season – struggled mightily.
“I have nothing negative to say about it. We’re looking at different things that could be done,” said Bassin, who added that Knoblauch wants input into the staff. Sidorkiewicz said he worked well with Knoblauch. But with a new coach, Sidorkiewicz said, “you always know (a change is) possible.”
Sidorkiewicz will turn his attention to finding a new job. “It’s like a kick in the gut,” he said of leaving the Otters. “But I have to get off the floor. I have to find a new job.” Bassin said he plans to help Sidorkiewicz find a job at a higher level. “I’m going to do my best to call a lot of people because he would be a wonderful addition to their staff,” Bassin said. “I think the world of him. I’m going to do my best to get him to the next level.”
In other news, the Otters have chosen not to retain Mike Hildenbrand, who spent the past three seasons as equipment manager. Paul Roper, who served as play-by-play broadcaster and media relations manager for the past four seasons, won’t also remain with the club.
- Victor Fernandes