Ottawa, ON – Today, the four-time defending CCHL champion Ottawa Jr. Senators announced departures within the Hockey Operations Department. After two seasons with the club, Head Coach Kyle Makaric has accepted a role as the Lead Assistant Coach at the University of Windsor, while Assistant Coach Ryan Hand has accepted a position as the Head Coach of the EOJHL’s Alexandria Glens.
“As much as they will be difficult to replace, we are happy for Kyle and Ryan who will be moving on with their hockey career,” said Jr. Senators President and Director of Hockey Operations Martin Dagenais. “They came in at a time when OJS was expected to win, and they did just that. They are definitely a big part of our last two championships and we wish them all the best in their new endeavors.”
Makaric departs after a very successful tenure at OJS, leading the team to two Bogart Cups and earning CCHL Coach of the Year this past season.
In his first season at the helm in 2021-2022, Makaric guided the club to its third-straight CCHL championship and a berth in the Centennial Cup. The Jr. Senators also earned their first regular season title since 2013 by posting a 43-8-4 record and setting a league-best +93 goal differential.
This past season, Makaric has helped lead the Jr. Senators to a league-leading 42-8-5 record. The Jr. Sens placed first in Goals Against (126) and Goal Differential (+92), while sitting second in Goals For (218). In the special teams department, OJS sat tops in PP% (25.3%) and PP Goals For (56), while sitting second in PK% (87.5%).
Through two seasons at the helm, Makaric coached OJS to a regular-season record of 85-16-9. During the 2022 playoffs, OJS went 12-1 to clinch its third-straight Bogart Cup and berth in the Centennial Cup. In 2023, the club went 12-5 to win its fourth straight Bogart Cup and a berth in the Centennial Cup semi-finals.
A native of LaSalle, Ontario, Makaric grew up playing hockey at the AAA level in LaSalle, as well as Sun County, and Windsor.
He played his junior hockey for the Chatham Maroons before joining the University of Windsor Men’s hockey program from 2010 to 2013.
Following 31 games of USports hockey, Makaric transitioned his focus to coaching. As the Head Coach of the Windsor Midget AAA team for four seasons, he guided the team to three-first place finishes and captured two Silver Sticks, a 2017 Alliance Championship, and ended with a silver medal at the 2017 Telus Regionals.
Makaric was also an assistant coach with Team Alliance for the 2017 OHL Gold Cup and was a guest coach for the 2017 World Under-17 Development Camp. This past December, Makaric was a part of Team Canada East’s coaching staff at the World Jr. A Challenge in Cornwall, capturing a silver medal.
“Reflecting on the season and plans moving forward after the Centennial Cup, it seemed time to move on from my position as Head Coach of OJS,” said Makaric. ” I cannot speak highly enough of the organization and people involved on a day-to-day basis. I want to thank Marty and Jamie for giving me the opportunity to coach this team coming out of covid. They are great mentors and I will always value the lessons they taught me over the past 2 seasons. Have to shout out Assistant Coaches Stu and Hander who had my back in every way. Loved being at the rink, on the bus, and working in close proximity to them. Our volunteers and off-ice staff are top notch and everyone did an amazing job in their role which made things run so smoothly. Getting to work with Assistant GM Lino Dixon and our Mental Performance Coach Sylvie Seguin Brant helped me a lot and they were always there for a chat or to bounce some ideas around. Lastly, I want to thank every player who came through our door during the past 2 seasons. The character and effort they all displayed is the key reason for OJS’ perennial success. I am proud to have been involved with this organization and will never forget my time in Ottawa and the people I have met through OJS and the CCHL.”
Hand joined the Jr. Senators staff prior to the 2021-2022 season as a Skills Coach. Playing four seasons with the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar from 2002-2006, Hand racked up 12 points and 539 penalty minutes in 140 games.
Following junior, Hand would go on to play 367 professional games in six different leagues. He captured an LNAH (Ligue Nord-Américane de Hockey) title with the Thetford Mines Isothermic in 2015.
After retiring in 2017, Hand returned home and joined the Hawkesbury Hawks coaching staff. Following two seasons as an assistant in the CCHL, he joined the Alexandria Glens under Carl Robillard in the EOJHL.
Hand owns and operates Handmade Hockey, a program that offers hockey training and skill development.
The Ottawa Jr. Senators organization thanks Kyle and Ryan for their dedication and contributions over the last two seasons and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.
Stay up to date with OJS news on the team’s social media platforms.
Photos and Graphic credit: Davide Disipio, Nathan Pavao, and Drew Mawson.