In what looked like a big season of junior hockey that looked like it couldn’t become a stranger, the Oshawa Generals just parted ways with highly successful head coach Greg Walters.
The announcement was made on Thursday morning (17.
The decision came into focus when Walters and Generals Vice President Roger Hunt confirmed the reason the coach and team are no longer together.
“It was just contract matters that we couldn’t agree on,” said Walters, who headed the generals on May 11 in just two regular seasons.
He led the team to the 2019 Eastern Conference finals before being ousted by the Ottawa 67 powerhouse. The 2020 playoffs were canceled due to the pandemic, as was the entire 2020/21 season. Each season, Walters led the Generals to a regular season third place in the Eastern Conference with 10 OHL teams.
Hunt confirmed that Walters’ contract had expired and the two sides could not agree on a new deal.
“It turned out we couldn’t agree on what happens sometimes. It’s a part of the business side that isn’t always glamorous and we just need to keep moving. There were just things the club couldn’t agree with him (Walters) on, ”said Hunt.
Walters did not want to go into the details of his negotiations with the generals, but said that he was missing out on the 2020-21 season when the team was hoping to host and play the Memorial Cup, “It breaks my heart for the kids, the players. That was sad. “
Walters may not be out of work for long. He has been training continuously since retiring as a player in 2002. The 49-year-old Calgary native, who played three years in the OHL as a striker for the Ottawa 67 before playing professional hockey in the minors for 12 years (he was a draft choice of the Toronto Maple Leafs), was an assistant for eight years Sarnia Sting in the OHL. He then coached the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, won a league title and was named coach of the year twice and coach of the Canadian Junior Hockey League once before taking the job with the Generals.
Walters said he has “a lot of people in the hockey world calling me,” but nothing yet.
The generals have heard of potential candidates but will take their time choosing their next head coach.
“It’s pretty fresh, the hockey world is pretty much in tune with what’s going on. Some high-profile people have been calling in since 10 a.m. when the announcement was made. There is a list of people you like or dislike. We don’t want to rush it. We hope to find the right people, so now the search is on, ”said Hunt.
The generals also broke up with assistant coach Greg Nemisz a few days ago. He has been with the team since the 2015/16 season.