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'(Posted 10 a.m., April 9)
Cumberland Grads coach accepts assistant job with 67's
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Cumberland Grads head coach and general manager Mark Grady has accepted an offer to become an assistant coach with the Ottawa 67's where he will join Chris Byrne who has taken over the reigns of the OHL club from the legendary Brian Kilrea.

It has been rumoured for sometime that Grady would be joining Byrne who he coached with during a stint with the Nepean Raiders in 2001-02 before coming to Cumberland.

During an interview on Team 1200 Thursday morning, Grady said that he has been discussing the possibility of joining Byrne behind the 67's bench for the past several months.

"We had some preliminary discussions during the season, but I didn't want to distract anyone and because of my situation with work we had to make sure everything fit," said Grady. "I had to deal with the family and deal with work and that's where we are today."

As for his relationship with Byrne, Grady said that they should be a good fit

"We work well together. We kind of read well off each other and can pick up on what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are," said Grady who is well aware of the fact that he and Byrne will be following in the footsteps of a pair of legends in Bert O'Brien and Brian Kilrea. "I'm very humbled to step behind the bench behind Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Kilrea. I just hope we can win half the games they have."

During his tenure with the Grads, Grady has guided them to two Robinson Division championships in the past two years only to see them lose in the first round of the playoffs.

He first joined the team as an assistant in 2002-03 and then was promoted to head coach and GM in 2005-06 to replace Bruce Johnston.

He won Coach of the Year in his rookie season and again this past season after guiding the Grads to the third best record in the CJHL. Unfortunately, the season ended prematurely when the Ottawa Jr. Senators knocked them out of the playoffs in six games.

The search is now on to find a replacement for Grady behind the Grads bench and in the front office.

In a statement released shortly after Thursday's announcement, Grads' owner Steve Barban thanked Grady for his many years of service to the club

"In no small part through Mark's efforts, the Grads have become known as a destination of choice for elite student athletes looking to continue their hockey develop.m.ent at the Junior A level. The solid base in hockey operations that Mark has helped create will be enjoyed in Navan for many years to come," says Barban.

"All of us in the Grads organization join together in wishing Mark continued success at the Major Junior level. While we are sorry to see him go, his departure is further proof that not only are the Grads players heavily scouted, but also their hockey staff. We take pride in this dual develop.m.ent role."

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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