There have been changes to the management structure of the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals, but the same faces are still involved with running the Jr. C franchise.
The Admirals announced Wednesday that “in an effort to get the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals back to their winning ways in the 2017/18 season” that co-owner Wes Ewer has stepped down as the general manager. His replacement will be Paul Bortignon, who will remain as the team’s head coach.
“I think it is an important shift of roles for our organization,” said Ewer, in the announcement made on the team’s website. “This will allow me to focus more on the business side of the Admirals and give Paul more autonomy as far as the players go.” The move comes after the Admirals were swept by the Essex 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final series. Essex went on to sweep Lakeshore in the Stobbs Division final.
“If you are not looking at all aspects of operation to improve – including your own role – then you are doing a disservice to the players, coaches and fans,” Ewer said. “This is a pivotal year for the team. I believe we underachieved last season and I think a fresh approach to managing the players will spark the improvement we are looking for this season.”
The Admirals went 26-14-0 during the 40-game 2016-17 regular season, good for a third place finish for the second year in a row. Asked what he thinks will be different in the 2017-18 season, Bortignon had this to say.
“I believe the biggest difference will be the style and structure that we bring to the rink. We have been a run-and- gun team for three years and although we have achieved some success, we have not got to the mountaintop yet.”
Speed and defense will be focused on going forward, the coach/GM stated.
“We will be a team that gets faster and a team that gets better defensive efforts at both the forward and defense positions. We will fill the team with guys who fit these tactics,” said Bortignon.
The Admirals are evaluating all aspects of the team and expect some more moves to be made from a personnel and management perspective, the team further announced.
“We aren’t done yet,” added Bortignon.
The team is well into the off-season now and the planning has already begun. The date and time for the spring mini-camp has yet to be announced but any players interested in trying out for the team are welcome to fill out a recruitment form on the team’s website – www.amherstburgadmirals.com – and send directly to Bortignon.
The team expects some additional announcements in the coming weeks.