The Airdrie CFR Chemical Bisons will be on the lookout for a new coach this spring, after head coach Dustin Taylor stepped down from the position to pursue an expanded role with the Global Sport Academy.
The Airdrie Cochrane Athletic Association (ACAA), which oversees Airdrie's U18 AAA hockey team, announced Taylor’s departure in an April 8 press release.
“Taylor has been an integral part of the CFR Chemicals U18 AAA Bisons program for the past three seasons and has worked closely with Global Sport Academy to make the program a success on many levels,” said Tim Kehoe, a representative of the ACAA’s committee.
“[He] 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. He has also supported those who have become successful beyond sport and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
While Taylor said he will likely still have some involvement with the Bisons through his new position as chief operating officer for the Global Sport Academy in Calgary, he said his new role would limit the time he would be able to spend with the team.
“From the athletes’ perspective, it makes sense to have someone else there who can put the appropriate amount of time in, versus what I would be able to,” he said. “It just made sense and was a logistics thing. The second part of it was, it opens the door for others to gain experience as a head coach within that role.”
Taylor was the Bisons’ head coach for three seasons, from 2018 to 2021. In the 2017-18 season, he was an associate coach for the AAA U18 squad during its inaugural year in Airdrie, after previously being based out of Strathmore.
Prior to that, he was an assistant coach and video coach for the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team for two seasons.
Taylor said his favourite part of being the Bisons’ head coach was having the autonomy to work with the organization in helping build a program of excellence.
“It’s been an outstanding organization to work with in terms of alignment of values and allowing me to have a voice in building that, and being able to execute as I saw fit,” he said.
A second aspect of the position Taylor said he enjoyed was being able to help young players develop, both on and off the ice. While the Airdrie-based team did not make the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League playoffs in any of the seasons he was the squad’s bench boss, many players did graduate from the Bisons into higher levels of junior hockey, such as the Western Hockey League or the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Taylor said he wanted to thank the ACAA and hockey community of Airdrie for their support.
According to the ACAA’s press release, the association is assessing the Bison coaching requirements and will have further communication in the near future.