Head coaches are hired to be fired, as the saying goes. It’s as true in the minors as it is for the NHL. If the Ottawa Senators fire Belleville head coach Troy Mann, the reasons are their business. Except they may be other teams’ business, too.
News Release: The #Sens have announced changes to the Belleville Senators coaching staff: https://t.co/bhnBt9APeZ pic.twitter.com/ze2wQcfifb
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) February 3, 2023
Senators Fire Mann for REASONS
When a sports team isn’t finding success, the coach is an easy target. This season, Belleville isn’t having a great time of it, sitting sixth in their division with a 17-22-3-1 record. Former coach Troy Mann has been with the team for a few years, and his brother is the parent club’s assistant general manager. Still, all things come to an end, and that’s doubly true in the coaching ranks.
Long term, though, Mann has quite a good record: 150 wins in 287 games. More than that, AHL is a development league where prospects get professional experience. As far as that’s concerned, Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, and Erik Brannstrom have all gone through Mann’s system.
There has been quite a lot of upheaval around the Senators, too. Not just with the passing of their former owner, but on the ice, there have been plentiful injuries at both the NHL and AHL levels. The brunt of replacing those players always falls on the shoulders of the AHL squad, who lose their best in call-ups. The Belleville Senators have had 41 skaters and five different goaltenders in 43 games so far.
What we’re saying, here, is that an AHL coach’s lot is not a happy one. Though at one point Mann was considered a candidate for the parent club’s head coaching job, things have changed. Dramatically.
Then came this tweet from TSN reporter Claire Hanna, and things got real, real interesting.
Sources saying there were trust issues emerging between the #Sens and Belleville HC Troy Mann. I’m told the straw that broke the camels back was when Mann gave some of the Ottawa Senators pre-scouting material to another NHL team.
— Claire Hanna (@clahanna) February 3, 2023
This is… lunatic. Again, former Belleville coach Troy Mann – whose brother is an assistant general manager for the Ottawa Senators – gave a different team his pre-scouting material. This according to a TSN reporter getting information from the Senators.
This isn’t just a case of betting on the league you coach in. This is insider trading with your boss’ information.
Now, we don’t know what the information was used for. It could have been for the other team to get a read on an undrafted, unsigned free agent and he was being friendly. It’s certainly possible that Mann was just being careless and didn’t think of the consequences of sharing information.
That’s still a firable offence – the information isn’t really his to share – but is mostly harmless in the grand scheme of things. If, on the other hand, he shared player information with a club opponent who is looking to make a trade with Ottawa, that’s bad. Keeping your rivals in the dark about how much you value your own assets is a big part of negotiations.
Or maybe it wasn’t about a player at all, but a report on team systems. Why on earth would anyone share that with an opponent? We really can’t think of any legitimate reasons, unless possibly to help them beat a mutual rival. Which still tells the opponent club how your own team scouts them. Not a great idea.
Whatever further information comes out about this firing, it’s going to be a wild ride.