For the second time in two years the Battleford North Stars will start the season with a new man at the helm as Nate Bedford has resigned his position as coach and general manager with the club to move back to Alberta.
Bedford has been hired to take over the head coaching duties of the Portage College Voyageurs of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and will reside in Cold Lake, Alberta.
“I was shocked,” said Troy Slywkas, President of the North Stars. “I knew they (Voyageurs) had reached out to him. The last I had talked to him everything was good.”
Slywkas said he learned of Bedford’s decision to leave the organization Friday at noon.
“It was an offer he could not turn down... I understand that,” Slywkas added. “We certainly wish Nate the best of luck with the Voyageurs.”
Bedford came to North Battleford last August replacing Kevin Hasselberg who departed for the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. Bedford had been the head coach of the now defunct Keyano Huskies of the ACAC from 2014 to 2016.
Under Bedford’s tutelage, the North Stars had a remarkable year with a 48-9-1 record and 97 points which earned the team the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) pennant. The team also set a SJHL record for fewest goals allowed during the regular season (103) and were the league’s third highest scoring team (223) behind Estevan (225) and Flin Flon (245).
The magical season continued for the North Stars as they swept through the 2017 playoffs beating Weyburn, Estevan and Flin Flon to capture their first Canalta Cup Championship since 2000 and earning a spot in the Western Canada Cup(WCC) tournament in Penticton British Columbia in May.
The North Stars were not as impressive at the tournament squeaking into the playoff round with a 1-4-1 record before losing to the host Vees in the 3rd versus 4th playoff game on May 6 to officially end their season.
North Stars President Troy Slywkas insisted that despite the Bedford bombshell the team is still preparing for next season.
“We are moving forward with signing players and looking for talent,” he said. “And now we throw in looking for a new head coach and general manager as well. We are prepared to go through the process.”
Nate Bedford could not be reached for comments at press time.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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