With the 2016 Sutherland Cup recently awarded to the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs and many Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League teams holding Spring Evaluation Camps to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2016-17 season, Sarnia Legionnaires’ dedicated head coach Mark Davis sits on the edge of history to go where no Western Conference head coach has went before.


Mark will hit a couple of coaching milestones this coming season. He is just seven wins shy of hitting 300 wins for his career and needs 38 more games coached to reach 600.  Dan Rose sits second in games coached with 511.

Both are tremendous accomplishments.  The 300-win plateau and 600 games coached will etch Mark’s name into the record book well ahead of the competition.

According to league historian Scott Holland’s extensive research, no Western Conference head coach has ever registered 300 career wins.  In fact, Scott reports that only six Western head coaches have ever guided their clubs to more than 200 wins.

Mark easily leads the list with 293 wins.  He has been the bench boss in Petrolia, Sarnia, Chatham, Leamington and Lambton Shores.

Dan Rose, has held the reins in London, St. Thomas and Sarnia and comes in very strong in second place with 250 wins.

Strathroy’s Mike Bondy is third with 236 wins.  Mike has the best record of any Rocket coach in history.  He came off the bench last year to become the director of hockey and general manager for the Rockets.

Chatham’s legendary Dave Torrie sits fourth with 233 wins leading them to four straight Strath Auto Centre Cup victories and a Sutherland Cup.

Tony Piroski has guided the Leamington Flyers to multiple championships for the first time in their franchise history.  Tony already has accumulated 204 wins.

Rounding out the list with 201 wins is esteemed St. Marys Lincolns’ head coach Merlin Malinowski.

No other head coach has amassed over 200 wins in our conference. Scott does report that he does have a few holes and gaps to fill in regarding the early history of our league.

With just Davis and Piroski actively coaching, Tony could put himself into second place within a couple of seasons.

Trailing the 200 Win Club are St. Thomas’ Ron Horvat (2008/09-2014/15) with 157 wins and Leamington’s Vern Stenlund (1992/93-1996/97) with 153 wins.

Davis has been a head coach for 12 seasons, Rose 11, Malinowski 9,
Bondy 8 and Piroski and Torrie for 6 seasons.

We sincerely hope that the GOJHL and the OHA pays recognition next season to Mark when he eclipses the 300 win barrier.

Mark has always been regarded as a “player’s coach” – the kids love playing for him.  The effort on the ice every night is evidence of that.

So keep an eye on those Sarnia wins next season.  The double countdown to glory has begun – 300 wins and 600 games coached.


(photo credit – Jeff Jeffrey)

David Honsberger

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