The Airdrie CFR Chemical Bisons U18 head coach Dustin Taylor is stepping down from the position, ending his three-year tenure in the role next season.
The Airdrie Cochrane Athletic Association (ACAA) announced the news on Monday, Apr. 12, that Taylor would not be returning to coach the team for the 2021/2022 season.
Taylor has been involved with the U18 Bisons team as a coach for four years in total—three as head coach, and one as an associate coach.
He said he appreciated the opportunity to be a mentor for Bisons players, but added that he felt it was time someone else carry the torch.
“I think it’s time that I step aside to allow someone else to get this experience at the U18 AAA level,” said Taylor.
In addition to opening up the opportunity for someone else, Taylor accepted the role as Chief Operating Officer at the Global Sport Academy Group.
He said the time commitment required for his new position wouldn’t allow him to give the team his full focus.
“The time allotted to make coaching work with the team just wasn’t enough to truly benefit the program as much as it should. I wouldn’t be able to give it the amount of time it deserves,” he said.
With Taylor stepping back, ACAA committee member Tim Kehoe said he would be missed.
“Dustin has been an integral part of our program and has played a significant role in developing many young hockey players that have advanced to the next level in their hockey careers,” said Kehoe.
“He has also supported those who have become successful beyond sport and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” he said.
Taylor’s involvement with the team isn’t fully at an end, however.
He will stay on board as an advisor to his successor to get them acquainted with the role and offer any insight that he can.
“I’ll still be involved basically at arm’s length… to offer up advice and be available as a resource,” said Taylor.
Taylor actually played for the U18 Bisons 10 years before starting his role as a coach, when they were a Strathmore-based team.
He said he was grateful to help build the team’s culture when he came on board in 2017 after the franchise’s move to Airdrie.
“There was this need to re-establish what the Bisons culture was about, and add in more details about what that culture is,” said Taylor.
“I think we were able to make a lot of positive change in regards to the culture that we built there, so I’m quite proud of that. I’m hoping that I was part of the foundational building blocks that let us have some success in the win column now,” he said.
Although Taylor is grateful for his time as a coach for the Bisons, he said he’s sad to see it end.
“It’s bittersweet—in a lot of ways I’m excited to see what’s next for me, and then on the other side of it I’m sad to be stepping down because the program itself has been so close to me.”
ACAA hasn’t yet announced who will be succeeding Taylor for the next season.