Photo - Robert Murray:
Gord Thibodeau made history on Friday night in one of the most fitting of places, Fort McMurray, where he spent 11 AJHL seasons and gathered over 400 of his record setting 833 wins.
Prior to tonight's game he had already tied the AJHL All Time Wins record set by legendary coach Don Phelps at 832. The longest serving coach in the Alberta Junior Hockey League started his career in the late 1990s and is now into his 23rd year behind an AJHL bench.
As a player, Thibodeau’s name is notched in the league’s record books as a member of the Fort Saskatchewan Traders from the 1983-84 campaign when he finished fifth in league scoring, and helped deliver the Traders their second league championship.
The Traders would be the team to get him into coaching, helping him earn his first of two Coach of the Year Awards, but his first full time gig wouldn’t come until the late 1990s with the Lloydminster Blazers. Stints with the Blazers and St. Albert Saints followed, bringing Thibodeau and those teams success, but his pursuit of winning an AJHL championship as a coach still remained out of his grasp.
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons came calling in the 2003-04 season, asking him to take over the reins of their team. Three seasons into taking over the direction of the club, Thibodeau had his championship team, winning after two previous unsuccessful trips to the league final. After departing from the MOB, Thibodeau didn’t stay on the free agent market for long, joining the Lloydminster Bobcats and guiding the team to within a win of the Royal Bank Cup title on home ice last May. This past offseason, Thibodeau made another change, joining the Whitecourt Wolverines.
Listen to the Voice of the Wolverines, Andrew Peard, discuss the historic night with Coach Gord Thibodeau.
A great story by Darcy Seaton of CTV on coach Gord Thibodeau who continues to win both on and off the ice.
Watch the amazing story of Gord's career and his battle with cancer by Quinn Philips of Global TV.