POWASSAN – After leading the Voodoos to an NOJHL championship and an appearance at the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2016-17, Scott Wray is stepped down to become an assistant coach with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion.
The move is a natural progression given the Voodoos are an affiliate of the Battalion and Wray will take over from John Dean who has left the organization to become head coach of the Toronto Patriots, of the OJHL.
“I’m really excited to be coming in as an assistant coach with the Battalion,” Wray said in a release on the Battalion website.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and want to thank all the people who were involved in giving me this opportunity.
“I’d also like to thank the Voodoos for three great years and all the friendships I’ve gained over that time. It was a special season, and I’m very glad we got to bring a championship to Powassan.”
In the same release, Stan Butler, the Battalion’s director of hockey operations and head coach, noted Wray has earned his spot with the OHL club.
“Not only do we develop players in our organization, we also develop coaches,” Butler said.
“Scott took the Voodoos job three years ago and won a championship and deserves a chance to coach in our league.”
Indeed, Wray, a 37-year-old Ottawa native who now lives in North Bay, is the only coach the Voodoos have had during their three years in the NOJHL.
Heading into the 2016-17 season, team officials expected the young Voodoos squad to flirt with .500, but they far exceeded those expectations and compiled a record of 56, 46-7-2-1, 95 under Wray.
They then reeled off 12-straight victories in the 2017 NOJHL playoffs, sweeping the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Timmins Rock and the Blind River Beavers to earn a berth into the Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament.
They finished with a record of 1-3-0 and failed to advance to the playoff round, but with a large core of players eligible to return in 2017-18, the Voodoos appear poised for another strong campaign.
A left winger during his playing days, Wray was selected by the Owen Sound Platers in the fourth round, 55th overall, of the 1996 OHL Priority Selection and played 21 games with the squad in 1996-97 before joining the North Bay Centennials during the same season.
In 179 OHL games with Owen Sound, North Bay and the Plymouth Whalers, he scored 41 goals and earned 54 assists for 95 points while amassing 156 penalty minutes. He played 150 games with the Centennials, scoring 38 goals and adding 48 assists for 86 points with 141 penalty minutes.
After completing his OHL career with Plymouth in 1999-00, he played in six professional leagues, including two in England, before retiring after the 2013-14 season, his fifth with the South Dakota-based Rapid City Rush, of the CHL. In 692 regular-season CHL games, he had 287 goals, 302 assists, 589 points and 838 penalty minutes.
Voodoos GM Chris Dawson wishes Wray nothing but the best with North Bay’s OHL squad.
“As an affiliate team for the Battalion, it is nice to see our players developing and moving up and this just goes to show the NOJHL is a breeding ground for development as Scott learned and executed in his time with the Voodoos,” he said.
“We are extremely proud of all his accomplishments and the growth we have seen in Scott’s coaching since he arrived here in 2014.”
The Voodoos expect to name the second Voodoos head coach in team history later this week.