FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2020
CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) is pleased to announce that Dave Williams (Wellesley, Ont.) has been named the recipient of the 2019-20 OHA Coach of the Year award.
COACH OF THE YEAR – Dave Williams, Stratford Warriors
As a coach, Williams has been around the block with 20 plus years of experience and has been involved with the OHA for more than a decade. He previously served as Head Coach and General Manager of the Listowel Cyclones from 2003-2006 and served as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations again from 2010-2012. Williams also led the bench of the Kitchener Dutchmen for one season (2013-14) and joined the Warriors (Cullitons) in 2015-16.
In the 2010-2011 season, Listowel, under the guidance of Williams, lost in the Cherrey Cup finals to the eventual Sutherland Cup champs, the Elmira Sugar Kings. Outside of the OHA, Williams has been involved with Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks (2006-2010) as an assistant coach, and has also scouted for the Bloomington Thunder (2014-2017) and Central Illinois Flying Aces (2017-2019) of the United States Hockey League.
In 2019-20, Williams in his fifth season behind the Warriors bench, led the club to a fourth place finish in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. This was an incredible achievement as the club had 10 first-year Junior B players and only four returning players. The team’s regular season record this season was 31-16-1-2. His Warriors also advanced to Western Conference semifinals after defeating Listowel in the opening round of playoffs.
When asked of Williams’ performance behind the bench this season, the Warriors said the team showed steady and continuous improvement throughout the regular season. After returning from the Christmas break, the team finished the regular season with 14 wins and three losses. The Warriors also finished fourth in goals-for, third in goals-against, had the second lowest penalty minutes and the third highest power play percentage.
“Dave (Williams) was patient through the early part of the season in dealing with the growing pains experienced by a young team. He emphasized staying committed to the team concept, striving for steady individual and team improvement and development in the belief that staying committed to the process would translate into on-ice success as the season progressed,” said team officials from the Warriors of Williams during the nomination process.
“Dave (Williams) and his coaching staff understand the profile that the team and its players have in Stratford and surrounding communities and effectively communicated the need for players to be involved in the community, be strong ambassadors for the hockey club and be positive role models for the youth of the community who regularly attend games and support the hockey club,” the Warriors added.
In 2018-19, Williams guided Stratford to a regular season record of 32-11-1-3, which placed the team second place in GOJHL Midwestern Conference. The team also advanced to the second round of playoffs, losing to eventual 2019 Sutherland Cup champion Waterloo Siskins in six games.
Williams is described by his peers as a passionate, committed head coach with strong communication skills who displays a high-level of sportsmanship and encourages players to set goals for their hockey pathways. “He is effective at clearly communicating the expectations for players, both on and off the ice, for them to advance to higher levels of competition. For players looking to become student-athletes at the university level, Dave’s (Williams) background as an educator provides valuable insight for players and the need to balance educational demands and hockey.”
Off the ice, Williams has earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Western University and serves as a high school guidance counsellor.
Congratulations to Dave Williams on being named the 2019-20 OHA Coach of the Year.
The OHA would also like to recognize the following Coach of the Year candidates, who were nominated during the selection process: Travis Chapman (Alliston Hornets, PJHL), Derek Smith (Wellington Dukes, OJHL) and Ron Bernacci (Dundas Real McCoys, ACH). Each of the mentioned head coaches led their respective teams to success in the 2019-20 season.
Recent Winners – OHA Coach of the Year
2008-09 Ric Nattress, Stoney Creek Warriors (GOJHL)
2009-10 Mike Bondy, Strathroy Rockets (GOJHL)
2010-11 Marty Abrams, Wellington Dukes (OJHL)
2011-12 Danny Rose, Sarnia Legionnaires (GOJHL)
2012-13 Michael Peca, Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
2013-14 James Richmond, Aurora Tigers (OJHL)
2014-15 Dan Fitzgerald, Dundas Blues (Niagara Junior C)
2015-16 Mark Jooris, Burlington Cougars (OJHL)
2016-17 Jason Brooks, Listowel Cyclones (GOJHL)
2017-18 John Nelson, LaSalle Vipers (GOJHL)
2018-19 Mike Tarantino, Oakville Blades (OJHL)
Photo credit: Stratford Warriors