McNear Heading Back To Blades’ Bench

Blenheim Blades

The Blenheim Blades bench will again have Bob McNear at the helm in 2015-2016 – Photo by Kelsey Vermeersch/

Shortly after the Blenheim Blades were eliminated from the Great Lakes Junior ‘C’ Hockey League semi-final playoffs by the Amherstburg Admirals longtime head coach Bob McNear announced he was resigning.

Blades general manager Wayne Cowell immediately began to look for a replacement and almost at once candidates started to make contact. One of them was McNear who was having second thoughts.

McNear, a former Blades captain, has been with the Blades three times over the last decade plus, and returned to the team to replace Peter South early in the 2009-10 season.

The last two seasons the Blades have made the GLJHL semi-finals after not getting past the first round since McNear played and Cowell coaches in 1995-96.

When the season gets started McNear will have two familiar, but new faces in Wallacetown’s Ken Shine and Blenheim’s Taylor Phillips, helping him on the bench.

Shine, who has loads of Junior hockey coaching experience, was an assistant to McNear three seasons ago and for the last season and a half has been the head coach for the Wallaceburg Lakers. He was also an assistant coach with the Dresden Kings and Junior ‘B’ Petrolia Jets in the past.

Shine and McNear will serve as co-coaches.

Phillips is a former Blades captain who played 216 games over six seasons scoring 72 goals and adding 100 assists for 172 points. Phillips last season was 2012-13.

McNear also announced that last year’s rookie assistant coach Neven Wiebenga will be back, however assistant coaches Kent Burk and Bob Price have moved on, while goalie coach Pete Knights has stepped down.

Burk will be the head coach for the Chatham ‘AAA’ minor peewee Cyclones, while Price will have a similar role with the Chatham ‘AA’ minor midgets.

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