Madawska Valley hires former Stanley Cup champion Mayville as new team coordinator

by Matt Mackinder

If Dave Mayville has his way, this might be the last time you're reading about him.

The Falcons' newest -- and perhaps most important -- hire will, rightfully, credit his coach, point to his players and praise those around him for any success the team earns in its first year of competition in the CPJHL.

But make no mistake: His fingerprints will be all over.

While he doesn't yet have an official title -- Advisor? Coordinator? Director? -- there is no questioning his role or his demands. With a lifetime in hockey, and the championship rings to prove it, he brings instant credibility to a Tier III expansion team itching to find it.

He aims to "streamline" the organization, "give it direction" and work with coach Norm Maracle "from the ground up" in turning the club into a community focal point.

Staying in the background, as he vows to do, comes easily to him but it also speaks volumes to what he accomplished in hockey; the games he's watched and the people he's known. His career needs no boosting, his ego no massaging.

How about this resume: One Stanley Cup (Calgary Flames), one Calder Cup (Hamilton Bulldogs), and two Memorial Cups (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Halifax Mooseheads) -- all as an integral member of the front office -- not to mention the countless players he has either discovered, developed or befriended.

"A good luck charm," is how he modestly describes his own role in those teams' successes.

Now, lured out of retirement last week by owner Gary Medwid, he says he feels "rejuvenated" at the thought of working with not only a brand new team but probably the highest calibre one to ever put on skates in Barry's Bay.

"My juices are flowing like they did 15 years ago," the 60-year-old Killaloe resident says.

On his first official day at the helm, he has already cautioned Falcons and staff and volunteers not to expect many dinners at home in the run up to the Sept. 30 season opener here against Cobourg. 

"The thing I really stress is a lot of sweat equity," Mayville said. "We will not be out-worked by anyone."

Right away, he also set out to perform three critical tasks: Find a team doctor, find a team dentist and talk to the principal of Madawaska Valley District High School. 

"The feeling for a parent (sending a player to the Falcons) has to be, 'My boy will be looked after," he said.

That level of detail and compassion is what he hopes will lay the groundwork for success, both on the ice and in the community.

But the one thing Mayville says he won't be doing is "scouring the bushes for hockey players."

That, after all, was his primary role for the past four decades, first as an OHL scout at age 23 with the London Knights then later a chief scout with Calgary and, for eight years, Montreal Canadiens; from taking unheralded forward Brendan Shanahan in the first round to nabbing future Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban in the second. 

He was even in the board room when, working with longtime friend and hockey icon Sherry Bassin, Sault Ste. Marie drafted a disgruntled Eric Lindros then infamously traded him to Oshawa for a bushel of players, picks and cash for then owner, Phil Esposito

"I like to think I've seen -- and been through -- what it takes (to run a top flight junior hockey club)," he said.

One of his highlights, he recalls, came his first year as head of the Knights' draft table. He became enamoured with an under-sized defenceman named Bob Halkidis and, despite considerable push back from others in the organization, he took the Toronto rearguard with his first pick. Halkidis rewarded Mayville's faith a year later when he was named the OHL's best defenceman at only 18 years old in 1985.

Mayville's Stanley Cup ring -- from the 1988-89 Flames team with Lanny McDonald, Doug Gilmour and Al MacInnis -- is actually the second on the Falcons. The other, of course, belongs to Maracle, who got his as a goaltender on the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.

Players haven't even taken the ice and already Mayville, married with two daughters, has already been impressed with his coach.

"He listens," Mayville said. "He didn't come in here with the belief that 'I know everything.' "

"We want him to be successful and will do what we can to support him. This could be a stepping stone (in his coaching career) for him."

The Stallions also have top-notch experience behind the bench in head coach Sylvain Cloutier and assistant coach David Lang.

Cloutier played junior hockey for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League from 1991-1994, scoring 237 points, 106 goals while also serving as team captain. He was drafted 70th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks in the1998/99 NHL season. He then spent 10 years in the AHL, which included captaining the Houston Aeros to the AHL Calder Cup in 2002-03. His next stop was the British Elite League with Coventry Blaze, where he went on to win back-to-back league championships, the second as captain, as well as a Challenge Cup and a Knock Out Cup over that two-year period. He then spent five years as a player and coach for the Hull Stingrays. 

Lang grew up in nearby Keswick, ON. He is the younger brother of Bill & Chad Lang, both of whom were prominent players in the OHL in the early 90's for the North Bay Centennials and Peterborough Petes, and both were selected in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars.

He grew up playing his minor hockey in the Georgina Minor Hockey Association, primarily for his father William. David spent three years in a scouting and player development role with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL. He was a part of two playoff run seasons under the tutelage of head coach Dan Wildfong. In 2014, David moved on to become special assistant to the GM of the Lindsay Muskies of the OJHL under head coach and GM Dan West. While there, the program graduated multiple players to Major Junior (OHL, QMJHL), NCAA, and U Sports programs.

-- With files from James Wilson