July 28th, 2023
The Bonnyville Pontiacs are happy to announce the signing of Darick Ste-Marie as our new Assistant Coach for the upcoming season.
This acquisition leaves one remaining coaching position to be filled after the organization and former Assistant Coach Connor Cadaret agreed to part ways earlier this offseason.
Associate General Manager Chad Nelson says that Ste-Marie checked a lot of the boxes the organization was looking for to support Head Coach Mario Pouliot for the 2023-24 AJHL season.
“Darick comes to us with not only a coaching background, but years of playing in the QMJHL and professionally,” said Nelson. “He also does extensive skills work along with having experience on the strength and conditioning side.”
The new Pontiacs Assistant Coach has spent time playing in the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and went on to play professional hockey such as in the FHL (Federal Hockey League) and the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League).
Along with his numerous accolades during his playing career, Ste-Marie has since went on to found his own company, D Hockey Coach, which is most active in the offseason developing the hockey stars of tomorrow in prep camps.
Following arguably one of – if not the best season in franchise history – the Pontiacs front office have spent the summer looking to solidify the team on the ice and behind the bench.
This addition is one of many moves that shows the Pontiacs are looking to continue building upon last season.
“My experience as a player alongside the love I have in helping others to grow will be very beneficial for the players and team. I strongly believe that the better every single player becomes, the better our team will be,’ said Ste-Marie.
“I am really excited to start working with our players, build relationships with them, and see how they evolve throughout the season.”
The 33 year old Ste-Marie spent last year coaching minor hockey as a part of the Cree Nation Bears program. This hockey program emphasizes high-end development for Cree Nation players in Quebec.
Hailing from Longueuil, Ste-Marie joins Pouliot as the only other Quebec native on the Pontiacs staff presently.
Thanks to the strong francophone community in Bonnyville and the Pontiacs’ emphasis on supporting and strengthening bonds in the community, the Pontiacs’ new addition is a fantastic match.
His knowledge and experience will be a boon to the continued development of the Pontiacs players, particularly the forwards.
Head Coach Mario Pouliot noted,
“Darick will work closely with our forwards on every situation such as breakouts, puck recovery, and more. I want him to work closely with our forwards because he was a forward when he was playing professionally. He just stopped playing a few years ago and I want him to be very comfortable. He’s going to be very helpful to our forward group to make sure they improve in the right way. Darick is a good people person and an effective communicator. He’s a fierce competitor that wants to win, but for me, it’s his drive and desire to see his players win along with his experience that makes him a great pick for our team.”
With major changes coming to the league such as the dissolving of the North and South Divisions, Coach Ste-Marie will emphasize strength and conditioning heading into a season with more games and travel time.
“We understand with the intense game and travel schedule that is taking place this season, our players’ off-days and off-ice training is just as important as what we teach during practice,” said Chad Nelson.
“We are excited to bring Darick on-board and welcome him to the community of Bonnyville.”
Ste-Marie will join Pouliot and the rest of the Pontiacs at the organization’s annual “2 Person Scramble” Golf Tournament on August 19th, 2023.
Registration for the event is open now. To secure your spot for golfing, prizes, and a meet & greet with your Bonnyville Pontiacs staff and players, Click Here.