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Know your coaches: Martlet and Redmen basketball and hockey

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Peter Smith – Martlet Hockey

There are very few teams in university sports that can claim to be as dominant as the Martlet ice hockey team has been in recent years. A large part of that success can be traced back to the steady hand of Peter Smith, who has served as the team’s coach for 15 seasons and holds a career .721 winning percentage behind the bench. Like many McGill coaches, Smith holds a degree from the school as well. Smith, however, spent his time at McGill in the pool, rather than on the ice. He swam for the Redmen and was team captain from 1977-1979, qualifying for CIS nationals in all three years. Smith has also had success with the Canadian national women’s team, winning a silver medal at the 2008 IIHF World Championship as head coach, and a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics as an assistant coach.

Kelly Nobes – Redmen Hockey

When Kelly Nobes was hired in 2010 as the Redmen hockey team’s head coach, he had big shoes to fill. The team’s previous head coach, Martin Raymond, held the position for over a decade before leaving for a job with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs—a minor league affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. In the four years since being hired, Nobes has managed to achieve success surpassing that of any previous Redmen head coaches. The 2010-2011 Redmen squad set a school record for wins in a single season, and the following year McGill won its first ever University Cup title. Nobes is no stranger to success in a McGill jersey, spending four years as a centre on the team before graduating in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. During his time on the team he tallied 181 points in just 131 games, and graduated as the ninth-leading scorer in team history.

Ryan Thorne – Martlet Basketball

Coach Ryan Thorne was awarded his fourth RSEQ Coach-of-the-Year award in 2014, and it came as no surprise after Thorne coached the Martlets to their third consecutive RSEQ Championship. Thorne has served as the team’s coach for 12 seasons, but it is only recently that McGill has truly hit its stride. Despite struggling early in his tenure, the Martlets are now poised to compete for a national championship, in part thanks to Thorne’s strong recruiting record—a Martlet has been named RSEQ Rookie-of-the-Year for each of the past three seasons. Thorne spent his playing days with Bishop’s University, captaining the Gaiters to a National Championship in 1997-1998 while being named an all-Canadian in the process. With the Martlets holding a perfect record, it may not be long before Thorne adds a second title to his mantle.

David DeAveiro – Redmen Basketball

It has been almost 40 years since the Redmen basketball team last won a national championship, but that is a drought that David DeAveiro is working hard to end. In his four years at the helm of McGill’s program, DeAveiro has led the team to two RSEQ Championships, but the team has yet to have success on the national stage. DeAveiro’s coaching career began with the University of Ottawa, where he also spent five seasons as a player. Since he began coaching, DeAveiro has worked with Canadian national teams at all levels, including in 2011 when he served as an assistant coach for the national squad competing in the PanAm Games.

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