TISDALE — Daven Smith is excited to be back with the Tisdale Trojans.
The Warman product suited up for the midget AAA hockey team from 2014 to 2016. In his final season he captained the squad. Now Smith brings his leadership qualities back to the Trojans as an assistant coach.
“Having played for the Trojans for two seasons and being the captain there for my last year, Tisdale really has a special place in my heart for sure,” Smith said. “Having the opportunity to return to the organization as a part of the coaching staff really means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to getting the season underway.”
New head coach Dennis Kubat, who was a Trojans assistant coach last season, is pleased to have Smith joining the team.
“Daven is a young man full of energy and a willingness to learn,” he said. “He seems to have a true passion to become a great coach. I am excited to be able to mentor him but also learn from him and his ideas.”
After playing in Tisdale, Smith went on to play two seasons with the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. In his final season, the standout penalty killer was named the Hawks’ Most Inspirational Player while helping the franchise win its first league title since 1990.
“I knew I wanted to get into coaching as soon as I hung up my skates,” said Smith, who spent last winter in school in Lethbridge. “I also knew what level of hockey I was looking to start coaching at [midget AAA], so really it was a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to arise and apply.”
Kubat said that Smith brings a number of qualities to the team. With an SJHL championship ring, he is certainly a proven winner. As well, Kubat noted that the 21-year-old will really be able to relate to the players as he is not far removed from playing midget hockey.
As well, the head coach emphasized that Smith has a lot of respect in the community already for the kind of game he played. Not only was Smith the team’s captain, but he also won the Hardest Worker award, which says a lot about his character Kubat said. He said the former player, who he noted comes from a great family, knows how passionate the community is about Trojans hockey.
“I can remember the hype around game day in Tisdale, and the support that community gives to the team, which is really something special when it comes to midget hockey,” Smith said.
Former Trojans head coach Darrell Mann believes strengths Smith demonstrates as a player will help him as a coach.
“He was a fierce competitor that came to play every night,” Mann said. “He played every shift like it was his last shift. I think his playing career will carry over well as he starts his coaching career. He was a great leader for us. A player that was well respected in our dressing room.”
Smith is looking forward to the team’s training camp, which is Aug. 17 and 18 in Humboldt.
“There’s always a buzz come camp time as kids are going to be battling for spots and competing,” Smith said. “I’m excited to find the last couple pieces of the puzzle for our team coming into the season.”