Jr. B Flames coach to step down

The Flames have struggled this season under Tavis Eaton, with a 7-26-1 record, good for 15 points in 34 games.

Flames coach and general manager Tavis Eaton

Flames coach and general manager Tavis Eaton

Ridge Meadows Flames head coach and general manager Tavis Eaton announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down from the team at the end of the season.

The Flames have struggled this season, limping to a 7-26-1 record, good for 15 points in 34 games.

“I think there are philosophical differences between myself and the team’s ownership, so I think it’s best I move on,” Eaton said. “It’s tough. I see the improvement in the team from the start of the year to now, but that’s life.”

The Flames have shown signs of life in the past few months, stringing together a handful of wins in late December and early January. However, the team has since dropped four straight games, and is barely clinging to the final playoff berth in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League’s Harold Braittain Conference.

Eaton was named head coach of the Flames at the beginning of the 2009/10 season, taking over from previous coach Russ Weber. Eaton had served as Weber’s assistant coach, and was himself a member of the 1995/96 Flames team that won the PIJHL championship, the B.C. junior B Cyclone Taylor Cup, and finished with bronze at the Western Canadian Keystone Cup.

In his first year behind the bench, Eaton coached the Flames to a 28-16-4 record, good for first in the Harold Brittain Conference, and was named the PIJHL’s coach of the year.

Last season saw the team finish below .500, and was bounced from the playoffs in the first round after letting a 3-1 series lead slip away against the Port Moody Black Panthers.

“I’m happy with the changes I’ve made since I’ve been here,” Eaton said. “I think there’s a more positive culture in the dressing room.

“I have no regrets.”

While a replacement coach has yet to be named, Eaton said he believes his assistant coach, Jamie Fiset, would be a good fit for the team.

“I think he’s ready for it,” Eaton said.