by Tim Morris
As a teacher, Jamie Mayo knows the value of communication and that every student is different.
Mayo has put those skills to great use as the Ottawa Junior Senators’ associate coach.
Beginning his fifth season with Martin Dagenais, the owner, GM and head coach of the Junior Senators, Mayo has played a big role in Ottawa fielding a competitive roster year-in and year-out. The last two seasons, the Junior Senators have won both the Fred Page and Bogart Cups.
“We’re very, very proud of the success the organization has had,” Mayo said. “We work very hard and to be rewarded for the time and effort we put in is fulfilling.”
Dagenais credits Mayo for being a big part of that success.
“Jamie has been by my side almost from the beginning,” said the head coach. “In the last couple of years he’s been mostly responsible for our team’s defensive play, a big strength of ours.”
Mayo works closely with Dagenais and wears many hats for the Junior Senators, including scout and recruiter as well as associate coach. Mayo also keeps a keen eye on what is going on in the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) so that when the team needs an upgrade or to replace an injured player he knows what players are available.
“I try and support Marty the best I can,” he remarked.
It was Mayo’s experience in the CCHL that drew him to Dagenais’ attention. The Ottawa boss was looking for a coach who knew the CCHL to add experience to a young coaching staff and who could work well with the players. Mayo fit that bill having served as an assistant coach with Junior Senators’ fierce rival the Carleton Place Canadians for two years and head coach of the Cumberland Grads in 2014-15 before joining Ottawa in the 2015-16 season.
“To have someone like Jamie who can help our organization in so many ways is key,” said Dagenais. “His experience has greatly benefited our young coaches and players.”
Mayo likes how Dagenais listens to his coaching staff and genuinely respects their opinions.
“Marty takes input from all the staff members,” Mayo remarked. Since players only spend two or three years with the Junior Senators, rosters are always in flux which is where scouting and recruiting come in.”
One of the highlights for Mayo is going to showcase hockey tournaments in Toronto and Quebec to scout.
“I look forward to the scouting trips,” he noted.
What he looks for are two-way players (the Junior Senators take pride in their defense-first approach) and players who are team-oriented. Also, if there is a need for a forward, a center or a defensemen, Mayo will look for the best prospect at that position. Making trades is another way teams can fill a need.
“Trading is the toughest part of what we do,” Mayo explained.
Dagenais praised Mayo’s eye for talent.
“He (Mayo) has been able to recruit some very talented players over the years, most recently Cole Spencer, Maxime Blanchard and Tucker McIntosh,” the Ottawa GM/Coach pointed out.
As for the Junior Senators’ success (they’ve won the CCHL’s Yzerman Division every year Mayo has been on staff in addition to the Cup championships), Mayo said that working hard every day is important but, so is player accountability.
Everyone has his role to play and is accountable for their play. Because Ottawa stresses team, the players don’t want to let their teammates down. That is their greatest motivation.
As a teacher (he teaches at Our Lady of Wisdom in Orleans, ON) the biggest reward isn’t the championships, it’s helping the Junior Senators go on to college or a higher level of hockey.
“It’s nice seeing kids move on,” he said. “It makes you feel that you’re doing well by the kids.”
As for the 2019 season, Mayo said “We’re pretty happy thus far. We’re pretty optimistic.”