June 22nd, 2024

Cubs board puts ice on Kowalchuk’s plans

By Sean Rooney on July 26, 2018.


Less than two weeks after he became president of the Medicine Hat Cubs and talked about major changes, Dave Kowalchuk has vacated the title after the team’s board of directors decided he was taking on too much.

The junior B hockey team is now led by Etzikom’s Richard Fritzler, who said Tuesday he was asked to become a board member by longtime director Blake Foster in June.

“I went there and they needed directors, he nominated me. And I accepted,” said Fritzler. “I never once dreamt I could sit on the board, and I didn’t expect to be chairman. They were in need of a chairman.”

Kowalchuk is now the general manager and director of hockey operations, a role he had expected to add to his duties as president. But the board balked at the ex-coach having that much say, former president Calvin Foster tweeting out that Fritzler was the general manager prior to the team announcing anything — Calvin Foster is not technically involved with the team anymore.

Asked whether he supported Kowalchuk’s stated goal of running the franchise more akin to a junior A club, Fritzler’s answer was clear.

“Dave’s expectations are a little high,” he said. “It’s a junior B team, not an A. I’ll deal with that as time goes on.”

Kowalchuk maintains he can still affect change in the organization, even though the board of directors includes Blake and Shirley Foster and Miles Fritzler, who are all seemingly connected.

“I have good support on the board, I think, everyone’s eager to head in a different direction,” said Kowalchuk following Monday’s board meeting. “It’s starting to look good.”

Ted Breznik was named vice president, Blake Foster was named assistant general manager, with other board members including treasurer Joanne Stahl, secretary Bob Will and other directors Wayne Peters, Justin Crawford and Jason Babcock.

Fritzler’s background includes coaching and managing minor hockey 15 years ago in Bow Island, and work with numerous agricultural organizations.

The team hasn’t had much on-ice success in recent years. Medicine Hat’s record over the past three regular seasons is 25-79-8, which includes a number of games forfeited due to a lack of players.

A lack of skaters is the main reason for the poor record, especially when compared to more successful franchises in Cochrane and Red Deer. Kowalchuk, who ran a successful spring camp for the Cubs, wants to fix that.

As for Fritzler’s plans as president, they seem to be sticking to the status quo.

“I am going to involve everybody, and the coaches will pick the team, they will run the team unless there’s problems,” said Fritzler. “We’re going to do a lot.”

The team’s main training camp begins Sept. 7, with an exhibition game at the Kinplex set for Sept. 14. Their regular season begins Sept. 22 at Ponoka, with the home opener scheduled for Sept. 29 against rival Coaldale.

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