Tips coach Mark Ferner fired (updated, & poll)

Major news as the Tips announced today that head coach Mark Ferner has been fired. Also dismissed was assistant coach Chris Hartsburg. General manager Garry Davidson takes over behind the bench on an interim basis. Assistant coach Mitch Love was retained.

More to follow …

—- UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.

OK, I’ve spoken to all the pertinent parties, so here’s more on the the Silvertips firing coach Mark Ferner. I’ve got a long night of writing ahead, and I still have to sort through all I have, so here’s some quick bullet points detailing the major points:

– The crux of the change was a difference in philosophies between Davidson and Ferner. Ferner was hired not by Davidson, but by Davidson’s predecessor, Doug Soetaert. Davidson is a proponent of attacking, offensive hockey. Ferner is a proponent of hard-working, defensively-responsible hockey. These differences were known from the beginning, when Davidson was hired last February. Davidson gave it some time to see if the two could come to reach some sort of middle ground, but that never happened. Both Davidson and Ferner acknowledged the difference in philosophies.

– Davidson said he’d been growing frustrated with the team’s style of play the past couple months, and essentially came to the conclusion over the Christmas break that a change needed to be made. That explains why the move was made now, despite the Tips winning three of five since the break. He also wants the team accustomed to playing a more offensive game by the time a new coach is brought in. Davidson, who last coached in the BCHL in 2008, will coach the team the remainder of the season. He won’t begin the search for a new coach until the season is over.

– Despite the philosophy differences, Ferner was not expecting the move. Ferner was emotional when speaking about the day’s events, but he handled himself with class and had nothing but positive things to say about his experience in Everett with the team, fans and community. He said he intends to continue coaching.

– Hartsburg was also dismissed because Davidson has decided he wants a two-man coaching staff going forward instead of three. The resources used toward the third coach will instead be diverted to specialists, such as skills coaches, who will work for the team on a part-time basis. Love was retained to run the defense, and Davidson said he hoped he could help mentor Love in his coaching career.

– The players were caught completely off guard. They came to the rink today expecting a normal practice day. Instead they had a new person running practice.

– In a little more than a season-and-a-half in charge, Ferner’s Everett teams went 38-64-2-10.

– Based on watching one practice, get ready for a different Silvertips team. I’m sure there won’t be an overnight transformation, and today’s practice featured basic drills rather than detailed work on systems. But it’s clear the emphasis was on attacking the net. Before coming to Everett, Davidson was the director of player personnel for the Portland Winterhawks, and the way Portland plays will be the blueprint.

– Davidson has been in charge for less than a year, but how much change has there been? Everett currently has 24 players on its roster, not counting Ryan Murray, who’s out for the season. Of those 24, just nine (Reid Petryk, Kohl Bauml, Manraj Hayer, Lucas Grayson, Joshua Winquist, Ryan Harrison, Nick Walters, Austin Adam, Austin Lotz) were on the team when Davidson was hired. Of the 12 rookies on the roster, just five were Everett prospects at the time. And now just one of the three coaches is still around. That’s quite the turnover.

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