UPDATE (9:55 AM ET, Friday Feb 3rd):
Claire Hanna of TSN shares some explosive new details:
Sources saying there were trust issues emerging between the #Sens and Belleville HC Troy Mann. I’m told the straw that broke the camels back was when Mann gave some of the Ottawa Senators pre-scouting material to another NHL team.— Claire Hanna (@clahanna) February 3, 2023
There’s a lot to unpack here, but if Mann was really distributing sensitive info to other team then it’s very difficult to justify his continued employment. Regardless, I suspect we will soon hear Mann’s version of events given this leak from the organization has the potential to permanently damage his professional reputation.
Who said the All-Star Break would be boring?
In a surprise move, the Ottawa Senators announced that they had fired Troy Mann from his position as Head Coach of the Belleville Senators:
The announcement caught many off-guard, as Mann has previously been rumoured to be a candidate for a future NHL job — perhaps even in Ottawa. Ryan Bowness, the GM for Belleville, had this to say in the press release:
“A change like this is a difficult decision, but we are aligned internally and feel this is necessary for the short and long-term growth of the players in our organization as well as the cohesion in systematic play between Ottawa and Belleville”
Certainly it would seem that management felt as if there was a disconnect between how Belleville and Ottawa were playing. This author does not watch nearly enough AHL hockey to have an opinion on that one way or another, but I will say that this whole situation is made much more awkward by the fact that Troy’s brother Trent is also an AGM with the team. Next family reunion could be a bit awkward!
The biggest thing to note here is how out of the blue this all seems. Changing AHL coaches won’t make or break your franchise, but Mann was well-respected and there had been no hint whatsoever that the organization was pondering a change. I’m not going to put a stake in the ground and say I love or hate this move, but I sure as heck am surprised by it.
Belleville has struggled to a 17-22-4 record this season, but it is worth noting that the team has been absolutely ravaged by injuries. The B-Sens posted a 150-117-22 record over Mann’s five seasons with the team.
David Bell has been named as the new head coach.