EVERETT — John Becanic saw it coming.
The Everett Silvertips head coach was ousted Friday after two seasons at the helm, and he expressed no surprise at the organization’s decision.
How sure was he this day was imminent? He had his statement to the press regarding his firing prepared more than a month in advance.
“About a month-and-a-half ago my wife sent me something that was profound and helped me get through this,” Becanic said. “It said, ‘Never explain. Your friends won’t need to know it, and your enemies won’t believe it.’ I think it explains what happened the last 21/2 or three months.”
Indeed, it was a tumultuous second half to the season for Becanic and the Tips. Little was expected of the Tips because of massive roster turnover from the previous season and an abundance of rookies. Yet, the Tips defied expectations by playing above .500 during the first half.
But things changed during the second half. First came the trade of star winger Kyle Beach, then the tragic death of winger Jordan Mistelbacher and finally a string of injures that decimated the team. Everett went 6-19-2-2 in its final 29 games. That included several lopsided defeats, culminating in a franchise-worst 10-0 loss at Seattle on the final day of the regular season. By that point some fans were beginning to voice their displeasure with Becanic during games.
Everett showed some spirit in its first-round playoff series against Tri-City, but was outclassed in five games.
So, there were plenty of twists and turns leading up to Becanic’s dismissal, but Becanic declined to discuss those circumstances beyond his initial quote.
“At a time like this, the less I say is probably better,” he said.
However, Becanic had plenty to say about his six years in Everett. The 43-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, came to Everett for its inaugural season, serving as the lead assistant under then-head coach Kevin Constantine. He spent two seasons as an assistant, then two more as the associate head coach. During those four seasons Becanic ran the defense for one of the league’s top defensive teams, helping the Tips win three U.S Division titles and compile the league’s best regular season record in 2006-07.
Becanic then succeeded Constantine in 2007-08 after Constantine left to take the head position with the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros.
“I’m grateful to the organization for giving me an unbelievable opportunity,” Becanic said. “It’s been a fun six years, but it’s time to move on. I look forward to coaching again soon. Where that may be I’m not sure.
“To be honest, the bigger concern is for my wife and two daughters, helping them through a difficult day,” Becanic added. “I chose this profession and its highs and lows. Unfortunately, the people you love are affected by it.”
For Becanic, it’s difficult parting ways with an organization he helped build from the ground up.
“It was a lot of fun, there’s a lot of great memories, and I can’t tell you a single bad memory,” he said. “This is the best league in the world and I love coaching in this league. It’s going to be difficult parting ways with Jay (Varady, Everett’s associate head coach) — we’ve worked together for eight straight years and he’s my best friend — and Rosie (assistant coach Mark LeRose), as well. But that’s coaching. There’s been four coaches in the last 12 months fired in the NHL who won Stanley Cups in the past 10 years. You take the good with the bad.”
And Becanic will be rooting for Everett’s players.
“My heart goes out to the group of players returning,” Becanic said. “It’s a great group of guys who should win a lot of games and contend for a conference title. I expect them to do real well, and I hope for the players’ sake that they do. I loved every single kid on the team.”
Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog