The Rockets’ 2014/2015 season ended earlier than fans, players and coaches would have liked when the team fell in five games to the Fernie Ghostriders on Feb. 25.
With the end of the season comes a significant off-ice change for Golden going forward.
Ty Davidson, the club’s head coach and general manager since 2010, announced early in February that he was stepping down as the Rockets’ bench boss after five seasons.
Davidson’s decision was a personal one.
“I’ve been away from my girls for five years…an opportunity to see them almost daily would be huge for me,” he said of his wish to find a job closer to his home in Salmon Arm.
Davidson also felt it was simply time for a change.
“I’d been here five years and I felt it was time…there was nothing negative that pushed me out of Golden and I just want to make sure that is abundantly clear.”
“Everything was great in Golden, they treated me awesome and I have nothing but great things to say about the people in Golden.”
The clear highlight of Davidson’s tenure with the Rockets was the team’s franchise-best 2012/2013 season that saw them win its first two playoff series in club history.
With Connor Beauchemin, Blake Roney and Keith Wake leading the way up front and James Leonard providing stingy goaltending in the Rocket crease, Golden cruised to a 31-14-1-6 record, good enough for second place in the Eddie Mountain Division. In the playoffs, the Rockets took care of business against third-place Kimberley before upsetting the Fernie Ghostriders in an intense, six game series.
The club’s Game 1 win remains on a short list of Davidson’s most memorable games.
“James Leonard basically stole the game for us and it really set the tone for the series. It really gave our whole team belief that we could do this,” he recalled.
The Rockets succumbed to the dominant Castlegar Rebels in the next round, but the monkey was finally off Golden’s back nonetheless.
“That playoff run was pretty special, when I first came here that was all they’d talked about, how they had never won a playoff round…it really bugged me,” Davidson said.
Davidson admits he couldn’t help but think about the end of his tenure with the Rockets as the Riders closed out the series on Wednesday night.
“That whole trip, you can’t help but think that it might be your last trip in the bus. It was a little sad rolling into Golden that last time,” he said.
He also made sure to thank the individuals who have helped make his experience in Golden a good one.
“I’d like to thank everybody that supports the Golden Rockets, the fans, the executive members and the billets,” he said.
“Especially Curt [Thorne] and Colleen [Palumbo], and I really want to thank Danny Orr and Raymond Johnson, my two assistant coaches, who worked with me every day and did so many things and sacrificed so much of their time to help me out and help the team.”
The Rockets will now begin searching for Davidson’s replacement, a search that the Salmon Arm native will play a small role in with his considerable number of contacts around the league. His last duty with the Rockets could be to run the team’s spring camp, although it is possible that a new head coach and general manager will be in place by then to take his place.