The Picton Pirates are turning to a familiar face to take on the role of General Manager for the upcoming season of Provincial Junior Hockey League action.
After six years at the helm of the PJHL’s Picton Pirates, outgoing General Manager Chris Masterson announced his retirement, effective immediately last weekend.
Masterson will remain as President of the club until the AGM later this year.
His replacement is no stranger to the organization as past General Manager Jason Parks will return to the Pirates to take over in that capacity immediately. Masterson noted “We are putting the team in capable hands with Jason.”
Parks moved from covering the hockey team for the Picton Gazette in the spring of 2009 to a managerial role. In the following season, the club captured just its second Empire League title, besting the defending champion Napanee Raiders in six games before a packed Prince Edward Community Centre on St. Patrick’s Day, 2011. Picton would ultimately bow out in the Ontario Hockey Association semi finals that spring, progressing the farthest any local Junior C club had in the Ontario play downs. The dream was eventually realized two post seasons later as over half that Empire championship roster from 2011 was on the ice on May 1, 2013 when Picton downed the Essex 73’s in Game Five to win their first Schmalz Cup.
Masterson said it was time for him to step back and focus on family and other interests.
“I have been involved in hockey at the Junior and AAA level for over 25 years and it’s time for me to spend more time on other hobbies and with my family,” said Masterson.
Masterson took over the club as Head Coach/Assistant GM in 2014 and then moved on to President and GM in 2017. He currently sits on the PJHL Board of Directors and plans to finish his term with the league.
“We have built a competitive club with a great group of players. I would like to thank every player that has come through the organization in my time.” Masterson went on to thank the many volunteers, sponsors and fans for their continued dedication to the club. “Without these supports, small town community-based hockey couldn’t survive. Community support allows these young men to live their dreams and play competitive hockey at a very high level.”
In the past two seasons, the club has finished second in the Tod Division of the PJHL and provided a consistent foil to arch-rival Napanee.
In fact, in the 2019 playoffs, the Pirates provided the Raiders with their most significant challenge as the Raiders marched on to a Schmalz Cup victory. The Picton entry was quite likely among the top five teams battling in the 60 plus team PJHL that post season.
Picton also announced Head Coach Ty Green would be departing for other coaching opportunities. The Deseronto native has been Head Coach since 2017 and was division coach of the year in 2019. Under Green’s leadership the team has a regular season record of 81-41-5 and advanced to the Tod Division finals each of the last 2 seasons.
“Green is one of the best coaches I have worked with in my 25 plus years of hockey,” added Masterson. He knows how to communicate with the modern player and he has a great understanding of strategy and bench management.”
Green was thankful to the organization and the players who suited up for him over the past three plus seasons.
“I would like to thank every one of our guys for battling and playing their hearts out. I could not have asked for a better coaching experience than my time with Picton. I believe we have developed a winning program and are leaving the next leadership group with a solid core.”
Parks was effusive in his praise for Masterson and Green.
“When I came aboard in 2009, we had to change the culture and the cupboard was rather bare in terms of talent. Both Chris and Ty did a heck of a job over the past few seasons and are to be commended for everything they did to make the Picton Pirates a winning club that was among the best PJHL teams in Ontario,” Parks said. “I certainly have my work cut out for me to continue in their footsteps but the core that’s on the roster is a great benefit.”
Parks is hoping to name a successor to Green in the coming weeks.
“I know the players are eager and excited for what lays in store in the coming season and beyond and I’m eager to start putting the building blocks in place to take a run at another Schmalz Cup championship for Prince Edward County,” the new GM added.