Sarnia’s Cory Pageau says Derian Hatcher will bring the same passion to his ownership of the Sarnia Sting as he did while playing the game.
Pageau and Hatcher played part of a junior hockey season together with the North Bay Centennials (now the Saginaw Spirit) under the late Bert Templeton in 1989.
“He’ll bring intensity,” said Pageau, the current bench boss of the Lambton Sting Minor Atom “AAA” hockey team.
“Whatever job he takes with the Sting, whether it be president or general manager or whatever else, he’ll want to win at all costs.”
Hatcher, 42, was a first round choice of the Minnesota North Stars in 1990. He retired in 2009 after a lengthy NHL career with Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia and winning the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.
Last week Rob and Larry Ciccarelli, who moved the Newmarket Royals to Sarnia two decades ago, announced an agreement to sell the Ontario Hockey League team to Hatcher and current Ottawa Senator forward David Legwand.
Both sides say the transaction includes a promise to keep the team in Sarnia.
A purchase price had not been disclosed.
The OHL’s Board of Governors must still approve the deal when it meets Feb. 2.
“When I first saw him, I knew he was headed to the National Hockey League,” Pageau said of Hatcher. “At 17, he came in (to training camp) as a second round pick and made an immediate impact. He was a physical presence and he had the shot. It took a while for his skills to catch up with his size, but there wasn’t much doubt he would play at the next level.”
The other principle, David Legwand, 34, also has a Sting connection.
The former second overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft by the Nashville Predators played with current Sting assistant coach Andy Delmore in the country music capital during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 NHL seasons.
Sting co-owner Rob Ciccarelli said the sale of the club is bittersweet.
“This hockey club has been a major part of our life for twenty years and we have so many fond memories of being the owners of it. We are very happy though to have been able to put a deal in place with Derian and David as they are both local and are committed to keeping the club in Sarnia.”