EVERETT — The keys to the Everett Silvertips have been handed fully over to Dennis Williams.
Williams, who’s been Everett’s head coach since 2017, will now also serve as the Silvertips’ general manager, the team announced Monday. Williams had been serving as the Tips’ interim general manager since June 1.
Therefore, Williams will now have final say not only on how the team plays on the ice, but how the roster is constructed.
“I think he’s deserving of it,” Silvetips chief operating officer Zoran Rajcic said. “He’s done a great job on the coaching side ever since he came to Everett. We’re well aware of Dennis’ abilities as a coach, and he worked very hard the last month getting the Euro draft set up and things back in order.”
Rajcic said Williams signed a multi-year contract, but provided no further details.
“It’s obviously a great honor, having the trust from owner Bill Yuill and president Zoran Rajcic to give me the opportunity to be the general manger as well as the head coach,” Williams said. “It’s definitely going to take a lot of leg work, a lot of time and a lot of energy, but I’m fortunate to be surrounded by great people as well.”
Williams has known nothing but success since joining the Tips. He has an impeccable record as Everett’s head coach, as in his four seasons the Tips are 159-53-7-7, winning three U.S. Division championships and one Western Conference title.
Williams was named Everett’s interim general manager after the organization decided not to renew the contract of general manager Garry Davidson on May 20. The organization said Davidson, who had a successful nine-year run as Everett’s GM, was not retained because of financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
When Davidson’s contract wasn’t renewed, the organization talked about restructuring its hockey operations for financial purposes. Rajcic said the goal wasn’t necessarily to consolidate the head coaching and general manager positions into one individual. However, seeing Williams’ work while he was interim general manager, in addition to Williams’ previous experience as both general manager and head coach with the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, persuaded the organization that this was the right direction.
“Dennis is a very hard-working guy when he’s coaching, we get to see that day-in and day-out,” Rajcic said. “But the minute he took on the responsibility of general manager on an interim basis, he put every effort in. He was probably on the phone 23 hours a day uncovering players. From day one when he took on the position he jumped in with both feet and did an unbelievable job putting together a good list for us and getting us a good player.”
Williams said he didn’t lobby for the general manger job, but that he eventually became comfortable with the idea.
“I just had to make sure that I felt comfortable and confident that I had enough time in the day to do both jobs effectively and efficiently, and not jeopardize one side or the other,” Williams said. “I called around and spoke to some other coach/GMs, I sat back and mapped out what the year would kind of look like. I’m going to rely a ton on (director of player personnel) Mike Fraser and the scouts when it comes to the draft, and on the hockey side (assistant coach Louis Mass) has been my right-hand guy since he’s been here.”
Williams said the team will be hiring a second assistant coach. Everett has typically operated with two assistant coaches, but Mass was the only assistant during the abbreviated 2020-21 season.
Williams also said he doesn’t plan any dramatic changes in the type of players Everett pursues.
“I felt Garry and I saw a lot of similarities in players,” Williams said. “I think the No. 1 thing I’ll be looking for in a player is character. I want to surround the team with great young men who want to give back to the community and strive to be NHL hockey players along the way.
“As for skill sets, I think it depends on what our needs are at the time.”
The next tasks in line for Williams are getting the logistics arranged for training camp, which is expected to take place in early September, as well as contacting and recruiting players on Everett’s 50-player protected list.
This is the second time in franchise history that Everett has had the same individual serving as both general manager and head coach. Kevin Constantine held both positions during the 2005-06 season after Doug Soetaert departed to take a position with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. That lasted one season before Soetaert returned to resume general manager duties in 2006.