TISDALE, NIPAWIN — After success in east central Saskatchewan, Daven Smith’s hockey journey is taking him south.
An assistant coach for the U18 AAA Tisdale Trojans the last two seasons, Smith has been hired as a full-time assistant coach for the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Smith grew up in Hudson Bay and Warman before playing for the Trojans and winning an SJHL title with the Nipawin Hawks. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity with the Millionaires, for whom he served as a scout for the last season.
“For myself, this is my next step/move in my coaching career, which is very exciting to say the least; then there’s the opportunity to give the city of Melville the team/organization that they deserve,” Smith said. “I can imagine how excited the fans are to get back in the rink after what’s felt like forever due to the pandemic.”
The Millionaires are pleased to be able to bring the 23-year-old into the fold.
“We are very excited to have Daven join our staff,” said Mike Rooney, Melville’s general manager and head coach, in a statement on the team’s website. “He brings passion and a strong work ethic. He is young, but he brings a level of maturity beyond his years. He is a great fit for the Melville Millionaires.”
Melville’s gain is the Trojans’ loss. Smith has been an assistant coach for both of Dennis Kubat’s seasons leading the team.
“Daven was a perfect assistant coach,” the head coach said. “He wanted to learn, the boys loved him, he has the passion to continue to improve. “He is also a great person, who will be missed. He was a pleasure to coach with.”
Smith said it was great to have the chance to start his coaching journey with the Trojans. He suited up for Tisdale in 2014-16. Smith captained the team in his final U18 AAA season.
“I got to play my AAA hockey there, I stayed to graduate there and then having the opportunity to begin my coaching there was a cherry on top,” he said. “Working with coach Dennis Kubat was a great fit for me to start; we worked well together. He gave me plenty of roles and responsibilities, which contributed in the biggest way to getting my feet wet in the coaching world. I can’t thank the Trojans program enough for what they’ve done for me during my time here in Tisdale.”
After playing for Tisdale, Smith competed for the Hawks in 2016-18. The team went 40-15-2-1 – third best in the SJHL - in the forward’s first regular season in Nipawin. The next campaign the Hawks flew to a league-best 43-8-3-4 regular season record and won their first league title since 1990. Smith will bring that championship experience to the Millionaires.
“My years in Nipawin were huge experience wise,” Smith said. “I learned tons about the game and myself while under coach Doug Johnson. We sure did a lot of winning from 2016-18; a few wins over 100 in that two season span I believe [regular season and playoffs together] with a couple banners and a cup to go with those stats no less. Winning is one thing, but actually understanding why and how teams win and lose is for sure my biggest takeaway from my time in the SJ; so much goes into it.”