OHL’s Oshawa Generals make a coaching change after seventh loss in a row

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Published March 12, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Oshawa Generals general manager Roger Hunt has shaken up the coaching staff in an effort to salvage the club’s season.

On Saturday, following the Generals’ seventh defeat in a row, the Generals announced they had fired Todd Miller as their head coach, and will rely on assistant coaches Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden to share the role for the balance of the season. Oshawa’s slump, which includes just three points from their last 12 games, has led to them dropping to sixth place in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference with a .500 points percentage.

The Generals are actually lower in the standings than the Barrie Colts — who traded their best player, Colorado Avalanche NHL first-round pick Oskar Olausson, to Oshawa in January. Adding Olausson entailed anteing 18-year-old German wing Kevin Niedenz and four OHL Priority Selection choices, including a second-rounder that could be a top-30 pick in the spring draft.

“We feel our team is underperforming right now,” Hunt stated. “We all think the group can benefit from a different voice down in the room.”

Miller, 43, was in his first season in the top spot behind the bench in the OHL. He was an assistant coach with Barrie for 10 seasons, mostly under the late Dale Hawerchuk.

The Generals will have just more than 24 hours to digest the news before they host the archrival Peterborough Petes on on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. at Tribute Communities Centre. The Generals (24-24-5) are six points ahead of the eighth-place Petes (22-27-3), who have a game in hand, in the race for playoff positioning.

Friday’s 7-2 road loss against the Kingston Frontenacs proved to be the last straw for Miller. Burlington native Shane Wright, the top-rated prospect for the 2022 NHL draft, had a hat trick and two assists for Kingston.

Foster, the 40-year-old former NHL defenceman, joined the Generals organization this season, after a two-season turn as Kingston’s head coach. The Frontenacs were in a down cycle during his tenure there and had a 33-91-6 record (.277 point pct.) under Foster.

Hedden, 37, is a first-year OHL assistant coach who carved out an 11-season pro playing career that includes turns in the American Hockey League, the DEL in Germany and a 12-game stint in the KHL in Russia. He earned a Calder Cup ring with the Texas Stars when they won the AHL championship in 2014.

Following Sunday’s tilt against Peterborough, the Generals face the league-leading Hamilton Bulldogs on Monday at 7 p.m. in an outdoor game at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

(Cover photo by Terry Wilson, OHL Images.)

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