Sports

Peterborough's John Druce out as Cobourg Cougars coach

By The Peterborough Examiner

Cobourg Cougars' head coach John Druce, left, captain Josh Maguire and general manager Brent Tully arrive with the RBC Cup on display during the Lakers home opener on Thursday June 1, 2017 at the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame in Peterborough, Ont. The team won the RBC  Cup national tier II junior A championship hosted by Cobourg last month. All three are ex-Petes and Druce and Tully are Peterborough natives. CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Cobourg Cougars' head coach John Druce, left, captain Josh Maguire and general manager Brent Tully arrive with the RBC Cup on display during the Lakers home opener on Thursday June 1, 2017 at the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame in Peterborough, Ont. The team won the RBC Cup national tier II junior A championship hosted by Cobourg last month. All three are ex-Petes and Druce and Tully are Peterborough natives. CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Just five months after leading them to the RBC Cup national championship, Peterborough's John Druce has been dumped as head coach of the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Even with a decisive 8-1 win over the Whitby Fury on Monday night, the Cougars have been playing just .500 hockey this season at 7-7-1-2, leaving them mired in a tie for third place in the OJHL East Division.

"Having analyzed both our record and the talent in the dressing room, I simply felt there was under-achievement," new Cougars general manager Adam Yahn stated.

"I felt we would be in a better position going forward to make a coaching change before the season got away from us.

"Making this change was necessary as we continue to develop a young team and look ahead to the future with the club returning itself to being one of the top Junior A teams in Canada."

Druce played three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Peterborough Petes and went on to play 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, playing 531 NHL games with the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers.

Druce joined the Cougars in November 2015 as assistant coach and became head coach in June 2016. As hosts of the 2017 RBC Cup, the Cougars earned a bye into the national Junior A finals and shocked many by winning the championship.

The Cougars, who announced the change late Monday night, plan to announce a new head coach soon.

Assistant coaches Kyle Smart and Todd Collins will lead the team in the interim with help from assistant general manager Ken Scott.

"Parting ways with John is definitely one of the toughest parts of the business of hockey," Yahn stated.

"John is a man of the highest character and integrity and I am very thankful for the close personal relationship we developed....

"The entire organization wishes him every success in his future endeavours."