Tom Bast knows a thing or two about winning.
Two years ago he led the Red Deer IROC Chiefs to the league and provincial minor midget AAA (15-year-old) hockey championship.
He’ll look to bring that winning formula to the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs major midget female hockey team this fall.
Bast was named head coach replacing Curtis Scutchings, who led the team last season after taking over from Mickey Girard. Scutchings did a good job of taking a young team to the playoffs before losing to the Medicine Hat in the south semifinal.
“Curtis did a great job with a team that lost a lot of their experience from the year before,” said Bast.
“I asked Curtis to come on board as an assistant and I’m glad he accepted. He brings in some extra experience at this level.”
Bast has coached girls’ hockey, working with the peewee Chiefs, and his daughter Mairead, three years ago.
“A lot of those girls are now midget age and will be trying out this year, so I know most of them, plus there are a lot of good kids locally . . . a good group of women coming up through atom, peewee and bantam.”
Bast will have Mairead on the team as she’s one of the top young defencemen in the province. As well she should be alongside Abagael Thiessen, who was one of the team’s top rearguards last year despite being just 14. Becky Davidson, who led the team with 16 goals last season, should be back up front. Overall Bast could have 12 returnees.
“We’ll know more in September, but I’m excited to see who we have. The main thing is to keep the best girls in Central Alberta playing here. We want to continue to develop the program in the same mode as the (two time defending national champion) midget Chiefs,” said Bast. “Doug (Quinn) has done a tremendous job with that program. He has put together a template of what it takes to win and we want to model ourselves after that and make it so we’re competing at a national level as well.”
Bast has spent time coaching all three of his siblings, working with Gabe two years ago with the IROC Chiefs, Mairead three years ago and Luke last year in peewee.
“I like to divide my time equally with all three and this year I felt I could help the midget AAA girls,” he said.
Bast is one to stress fundamentals and hard work.
“I feel the girls are much like the boys in that they have the talent and it’s important to have fun, but also on the ice work hard and develop all their skills. The girls are good students of the game and will bring that intensity into the game.”
The Red Deer Minor Hockey Association has also given the team three ice times a week, which will allow Bast to work and develop the skill level to compete in one of the top major midget leagues in the country.
l Gabe Bast, who was a rookie blueliner with the Chiefs last season, will attend the Medicine Hat Tigers camp this year, but Tom isn’t sure what he’ll end up doing.
l Allison Bendfield was named the bantam AAA girls’ head coach for next season while Rob Kellough will handle the bantam A girls.
Mike McGinnis will coach the IROC Chiefs and Justin Jarmolicz the Northstar Chiefs in the 15-year-old league while Mick Kartusch and Glen Goodall will coach the two bantam AAA teams.
Brent Zimmerman will handle the midget AA Elks with head coach of the midget AA Indy Graphics yet to be announced.
Carter Duffin and Mike Sawicki will be on the bench for the two bantam AA teams with Jim Perich and Dave Kalinowski handling the two peewee AA squads.
Marc Danielson and Dan Lower will coach two of the atom AA teams with the third coach yet to be named.