Gerry Gomez named new head coach of midget AAA Lions
Gerry Gomez, a former assistant to Jon Goyens, is the new head coach of the Lac St. Louis Lions of the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League.
The Lac St. Louis Lions did not have to look far for their new head coach.
Gerry Gomez, who served as an assistant to Jon Goyens for the past five years, has been named the new head coach of the Lac St. Louis Lions of the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League.
“I realize this position is probably the most sought-after midget coaching opportunities in the country. So I feel very, very fortunate and privileged,” said Gomez, who got the nod from Lions president/general manager Raz Salterelli and technical director Karel Svoboda.
Gomez said he was honoured to accept the position, but admitted he had “big shoes to fill” in replacing Goyens, who recently left the Lions after 10 seasons to accept the head coaching job with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“I learned a ton working with Jon,” said the 43-year-old Gomez, who also brings an impressive resumé of coaching experience to the role. “We had a great working relationship. In five years together, we reached three playoff finals and one Telus Cup bronze (in 2016). And last year, what we did in the playoffs against Lévis . . . the preparation work had Jon and I texting till all hours of the morning.
“Jon also had great relationships with his players; he cared tremendously about the players, about the person,” Gomez added. “I think that’s the number one thing: Care about the kid, care about the person, and the hockey stuff will follow.”
Gomez grew up in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, playing in the old North Shore hockey organization. He later suited up for the Concordia University Stingers and played some semi-pro hockey with the Laval Chiefs, but he’s been heavily involved in local minor hockey for the past decade. He coached in Deux-Rives and later served as head of player development for the Lac St. Louis region’s Structure intégrée Lions program, better known as SIL. He recently stepped down after eight years in that capacity.
“I’ve always been involved in minor hockey, and I consider midget AAA the last step in minor hockey,” he said.
Does he have aspirations to coach beyond midget AAA?
“I love minor hockey,” Gomez said. “Will I do something after? I have no idea. It’s not in my aspirations to do that.“
Gomez, who is employed as an IT recruiter, said one of the biggest challenges of being a head coach is spending countless hours at the rink.
“The time commitment and preparation, physically being there at all times, for both practices and games, is a big part of the expectation,” said Gomez, who resides in Beaconsfield with his wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 7. “I’ve arranged my work schedule and I’ve arranged my life, so to speak, so that it works out.” he added with a laugh.
Gomez said high expectations also come with coaching the Lions, considered by many hockey pundits as one of the best midget AAA hockey outfits in Quebec and Canada.
“Everyone on your team has such huge aspirations. It’s a responsibility for you to develop them and try and get them to where they want to go, within a team concept,” he said. “You’ve also got high-end players, so the whole thing as a head coach is to take that responsibility and do some heavy lifting.
“And I have support. I’ve been with Raz and Karel for eight years. They know how I function and I know how they function. I know what they expect, and they’re here to support all the time.”
Gomez is excited about the crop of players he has for the upcoming season.
“This player grouping is nice; the 2003- and 2004-born players are probably the strongest group we’ve had outside of the 2000s. But these are back-to-back groups, and the compete level of the 03s and 04s is what separates them as well. “
Gomez has yet to his name his assistants for the 2019-20 season, which begins Sept. 6.