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Western Kings bench in turmoil after apparent coaching shuffle

Mark Robinson is shown behind the bench for the Western Kings during a regular season game early in the 2017-2018 season.
Mark Robinson is shown behind the bench for the Western Kings during a regular season game early in the 2017-2018 season. - Star file photo

The Western Kings are in for some upheaval this offseason.

In late April an email was sent assistant coach Andre Cornick by co-owner Craig Simms relieving him of his duties.

The Western Star has learned head coach Mark Robinson is no longer part of the staff although details were not disclosed.

Neither Cornick or Robinson would comment on the coaching situation.

The move comes after the pair helped guide the Kings to first place in the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League with a regular season record of 29 wins, one overtime win and just two losses.

After a conversation with Darren Langdon, also an assistant with the team, it was revealed he was the only member of the coaching staff who did not receive a pink slip in the apparent teardown.

The apparent coaching change is not the only interesting thing about the situation.

Simms, who is from Corner Brook and co-owner Jason Oake of Deer Lake denied changes to the coaching staff when contacted by The Western Star.

Simms said via email that the ownership group is still working out a few issues about the upcoming season and there wasn’t anything to report at this time.

Oake, in a telephone conversation with the Star, said there have been no changes made to the coaching staff.

Darren Langdon, meanwhile, said he figures it's a conflict at the owner level and he hopes it gets worked out with the best interest of the players in mind.

“There’s an argument between two owners and that’s the way it goes," he said. "You can read into it what you want, but Jason (Oake) has been around all year so he knows what’s on the go. I don’t want to badmouth any of them because nothing has really happened yet, but there’s definitely shit on the go.”

The team had a great regular season with only two losses, but then bowed out in the final in five games to the St. John’s Maple Leafs. Langdon believes both Robinson and Cornick did a great job of coaching and he felt the players seemed to have a lot of fun.

 “If there’s anybody who really cares about the kids and hockey it’s Mark and Cornick,” he said.

Langdon accompanied the team on a number of road trips throughout the season, but he was only coaching on part-time basis because he has a number of obligations that take him to New York during the winter.

He doesn’t know if he would return to help next season, but he would love to see Robinson and Cornick afforded a chance to return and try to take the team to a championship.

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