Coaching change at Morrisburg Jr. C Lions

Then newly-named Morrisburg Jr. C Lions Associate Coach Steve Iwachniuk argues a call with the referee in this November 2022 file photo. Iwachniuk was let go by the team on April 26. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – Associate Coach Steve Iwachniuk has been let go by the Morrisburg Jr. C Lions. Iwachniuk served as associate coach of the club from November 2022 to the end of the playoff run in March 2024.

“We can share that we have made the difficult decision to make a few changes. Steve Iwachniuk will not be returning as coach,” said Kevin Casselman, team president and general manager.

“We would like to thank Steve for all he brought in his passion to the Lions. Steve is a very good ambassador, and an even better person. We would like to personally thank Steve for his commitment and hard work over this past season.”

Iwachniuk coached the team through the best two league regular series finishes since the team moved to the National Capital Junior Hockey League in 2015. The team finished seventh overall in the 2022-23 season and exited the playoffs in the first round pushing the Clarence Castors to a series-ending game five.

Morrisburg finished second overall in the 2023-24 season, and won the western division championship, with a record of 21 wins, one tie, and 12 losses. The Lions advanced to the second round of the 2024 playoffs after dispatching the North Dundas Rockets in the first round. Morrisburg exited the playoffs against the Vankleek Hill Cougars in game five.

“I respect the ownerships’ decision and wish the team all the best,” Iwachniuk told The Leader. He said the move was a surprise as he had planned to return this coming season. “I was planning on coaching the Lions for many years to come and I’ve had a lot of fun working with the boys.”

Iwachniuk said winning the Western Division was a highlight of his coaching career so far.

“It was a special year for the community and it was awesome to be a part of it,” he continued. “I’ve been proud to have had the opportunity to be a Morrisburg Lion again. Even though I will not be returning, I will still be cheering on the boys. Once a Lion, always a Lion.”

The organization said it was not ready to announce a replacement until later this week. Coaches Jamie Smith and Justin Shay were unaffected in this announcement and remain with the organization.

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