Fraser’s takes: Pedrick taking on new challenge in Romania

Del Pedrick has never been afraid of a new challenge.

The former Brandonite, who has spent the last 10 years at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., is packing his bags and heading to Romania next month to tackle a new venture in hockey.

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Pedrick, who has been Notre Dame’s director of hockey development since 2008, accepted a job with Seclerland Hockey as its technical director, an opportunity to help grow the game within Romania.

“It’s to guide a project in north-central Romania to improve youth hockey programs and increase numbers to provide more players and better players for club teams in Hungary and Romania,” said Pedrick, 48, who also has coaching experience in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (Swan Valley, Waywayseecappo), North American League (Cleveland), Manitoba AAA Midget League (Southwest) and the Westman High School League (Vincent Massey). “I will be mentoring coaches, leading them to develop strong programming on and off the ice and consulting on facility development like arenas, training centres and medical centres.”

Pedrick, who guided the Notre Dame Hounds to back-to-back national midget titles in 2009 and 2010, is familiar with the Romanian Ice Hockey Federation, thanks in part to some work he did with another Brandonite, Tom Skinner in 2009.

“Attila Nagy was one of the coaches (in Romania) at that time and we spent some time together on and off the ice,” said Pedrick, who spoke highly of Nagy, now the general manager of the Romanian national junior men’s team. “Attila contacted me about looking at a project that they were starting and he sent me a few details to review. He also suggested that I come take a look, so my wife Carolynn and I flew over to take a closer look.”

Pedrick definitely liked what he saw and continued to warm up to the idea and job offer, eventually accepting the position as he now wraps up his final few days in Wilcox in preparation for one of the biggest moves of his life.

“It probably came down to timing,” said Pedrick of his decision. “With all of our kids heading off to university, Carolynn and I felt that it was worth looking at. I have always said that changes are good for organizations and individuals and this looked like a good change and an exciting, new challenge…

“It’s also an opportunity to be able to travel and see different parts of the world.”

I admit it. I wasn’t all that excited about the Olympics in Rio just before the event began. Perhaps it was all the negative attention the Games received leading up to it or maybe I wanted to enjoy the outdoors while I could with my offseason nearing an end.

But it didn’t take me long to get hooked. Whether it was the Canadian men’s volleyball squad’s upset of the Americans early on in the Games, to Penny Oleksiak capturing the attention of the world with her four-medal performance in the pool at only 16-years-old, or even watching the “bromance” unfold between the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt and up-and-coming Canadian standout Andre De Grasse, there was no shortage of storylines at these Games featuring Canada’s athletes.

And how about Westman’s own Isabela Onyshko? The Minnedosa product and Brandon Eagles gymnast opened a lot of eyes in Rio, and put forth a solid performance. It was great to see the support she received across Canada, and Westman stepped up to cheer her on from afar. The 18-year-old has a bright future and the smiles and excitement she expressed all week is something I never get tired of seeing from the athletes that have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to finally realize their Olympic dreams.

Kudos to Onyshko and coach Lorie Henderson on a job well done.

 

Fraser is a former Brandon-area sports editor and reporter who grew up in the Wheat City and has been involved in the athletic scene in Westman as a player, coach and media member. A former NCAA Division 1 goaltender, Mike is an 11-year Western Hockey League scout.

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