Men’s hockey coach Marty Johnston steps down

Carleton Ravens men’s hockey coach Marty Johnston has announced that he will be resigning his position, leaving Shaun Van Allen to take the team’s reins for next season.

Johnson is taking a big step in his professional career as he has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL). Van Allen, a Ravens assistant coach since 2010, will serve as the team’s head coach in the interim.

Johnston, 38, has been with the Ravens program since the 2007-08 inaugural season, where he was brought on as an assistant coach. In 2010, he was promoted to the head coaching position and transformed the program into a perennial contender in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference.

During his seven years as the bench boss for the Ravens, Johnston led his team to a 129-42-12 (.678 winning percentage) record as well as two appearances at the U Sports University Cup in both 2014 and 2016.

He won the OUA East Coach of the Year award in 2015 and was selected as an assistant coach for Team Canada in this year’s Fédération internationale du sport universitaire (FISU) games in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Richard Bue, a former assistant coach of the Ravens and current video co-ordinator with the Moose, encouraged him to apply for the position, Johnston said.

“I went through a pretty extensive interview process and made the decision. . .to take the leap of faith and move on, which was difficult because of how great things have been here and how much I’ve enjoyed it here,” Johnston said.

Although the change in scenery will bring a new opportunity, Johnston still had to deal with the reality of breaking the news to his players.

“I wanted them to hear from me instead of through press releases. I think they were surprised and the timing isn’t the greatest but they understood that just like them, I was pushing myself to get better and wanted to test the waters and push my limits,” Johnston said.

The future of Carleton’s men’s hockey program now lies in the hands of Van Allen, who will be entering his eighth season as a member of the coaching staff.

Goal-tending coach Mark Cavallin has been promoted to an assistant role, since former assistant Ryan Medel accepted a head coaching job at the University of Toronto earlier this summer.

Despite the changes in the coaching carousel, Johnston said he has faith that the program will succeed under Van Allen and that they will not miss a beat.

“I think it’ll be smooth,” Johnston said. “I think he’ll provide some different looks on the ice than what we had, but at the end of the day I have no doubt that he’s going to do an excellent job.”

However, Johnston’s work with the Ravens was not quite finished upon the announcement of his departure. He had to meet with some of the team’s newest recruits to ensure a smooth transition into the new coaching staff.

“We had a plan . . . as to how we were going to address the room, so that way they could be assured that everything is fine and although there is a change with the staff, there isn’t really that much changing,” Johnston said. “We are fortunate that everybody is really happy and excited about the start of the season.”

Van Allen and Cavallin will officially take over coaching duties on August 1; meanwhile the school is planning to start a national search for a full-time replacement in spring 2018.

Photo by Kyle Fazackerley