The Picton Pirates announced changes to their coaching staff last week.
With Jamie Lane departing, the club announced on Friday that David Pratt would join the team as an assistant coach next season. Pratt patrolled the blue line for four seasons with the Wellington Dukes from 2007 to 2012. The Napanee native previously coached Napanee minor hockey and spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Napanee Raiders.
Picton general manager Chris Masterson said he’d spoken with Pratt several times over the last couple of years. Pratt seemed to be knowledgeable about the game and connected well with players, he said.
“Once I heard he was available I called him up, we had a chat, and decided it was the perfect fit for us, a former Wellington Duke,” he said. “He loved his time in the county, his four years there, and he’s got lots of great playing experience. He’s younger and can relate to the players, and he spent the last couple of years in Napanee and he’s obviously learned a lot there.”
What role Pratt will play on the coaching staff is yet to be determined and that will ultimately be ironed out in conversation with head coach Ty Green, Masterson said.
In other Pirates news, the club will be hosting a fundraising barbecue on Saturday, July 28 at Giant Tiger in Picton starting at 10 a.m. Masterson reiterated that the club is a not-for-profit, community-based hockey team that relies on the support of the public to keep going.
“That is getting harder and harder every year,” he said. “We definitely need the support of the community.”
He thanked Giant Tiger for donating the space for the event.
“We thought it was a perfect opportunity for us to raise a few extra dollars — every dollar helps,” he said, noting the increased cost of travel with the new interlocking schedule.
Next season the PJHL will feature inter-divisional games between the Tod and Orr divisions, meaning the club will be making some longer road trips.
The Pirates will play their first regular season game in Napanee on Sept. 14. The team’s first home game will be Sept. 20 versus Campbellford. The Pirates will also play at home on Saturday, Sept. 22 against the Georgina Ice.
“We will have four additional games this year total and because we’re doing the interlocking schedule it will mean we will be playing some Saturday nights and some Sunday nights in Picton,” Masterson said. “That’s a bit of an adjustment for fans, we’ve always been Thursday night. This year it’s Thursday night against the Tod Division, but Saturdays and Sundays against the Orr Division.”
Masterson also called on community members to consider volunteering with the club. He invited those interested to attend the club’s annual general meeting, which takes place in August.
“We’re looking for members of the community to step up and volunteer and possibly even become board members of the Picton Pirates,” he said. “As the group we have gets older, they’ve put in their 30 years, and they would like some other people to step up in the community.”