Catch up with former Axemen assistant coach Jim Midgley


Jun 26, 2014 – 18:16 GMT
Written By: MacIntosh, Scott posted at—asst-coach-jim-midgley


Halifax Mooseheads Assistant Coach Jim Midgley is a busy man this summer. He’s preparing for another exciting season with the Herd, while at the same time getting set to open training camp for the Nova Scotia Canada Games team for which he is the Head Coach.

Midgley however has another important life milestone on the way, as he and fiancé Laura are getting set to tie the knot in August.

Yes he has great organizational skills, as all good coaches do, to be able to juggle all of those duties in life.  Midgley is entering his fourth season with the Mooseheads as the assistant to Dominique Ducharme.

He played with both North Bay and Belleville during his three year OHL career, before coming to Saint Mary’s in 1998 where he put up big numbers with the Huskies, including capturing an AUS title in 2002.

It was during that time that Midgley discovered coaching would become something that he would pursue.

“I got the itch to coach back in my Saint Mary’s days when we would put on a 4 week hockey school in August,” he said.

“I sort of took on a little bit of a lead role on the ice with those hockey schools and I just really found the passion to coach and enjoyed working with the kids,” Midgley said.

He kept coaching in the back of his mind while he played one season of professional hockey with Fort Worth in the Central Hockey League, and the following year jumped behind the bench as an assistant to Darren Burns at Acadia University.

After honing his skills with the Axemen, Midgley took another job as an assistant with the Saint John Sea Dogs where he stayed for two seasons before leaving to become Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the prep school Rothesay Netherwood in New Brunswick.

After leaving Rothesay Netherwood, Midgley says he wanted to explore any potential Major Junior hockey options, because it’s where he wanted to ply his trade. Luckily enough there was suddenly an opening with the Mooseheads.

“With the coaching change here in Halifax, (General Manager Cam Russell) and I touched base and just sort of made it work.”

Jim says he couldn’t ask for a better working situation.

“The organization is great and obviously Cam has done a great job of bringing in highly skilled players to work with, which makes our job easy.”

He has high praise for Head Coach Dominique Ducharme as well.

“Working with Dom is great because he’s an excellent teacher and delegates well to his assistant coaches and bounces ideas off of us.”

Midgley explains how the coaches collaborate together throughout the course of a season.

“I work with the forwards on the bench and Dom and I do the power play together, while I take care of some of the video sessions with the forwards off the ice.”

He says it’s always a great feeling to see players move on to NHL stardom, but he takes equal pride in having a hand in the success of all of his pupils.

“You get to see guys go on to University and have great careers, like Stephen MacAulay, and this year we’re losing Brendan Duke, Brent Andrews and Darcy Ashley, and it’s nice to think you were able to help them become not only better players but hopefully better people as well.”

When asked about the Memorial Cup winning season Midgley paused briefly, almost as if he was reliving the moment.

“Looking back on our record that we had that year it’s almost surreal in terms of what we did, it’s a special group of players that we got to work with,” he said, adding that it was an honour to share the victory with the city of Halifax.

What’s his advice for young aspiring coaches?

“If you have a passion for it, then go after it.”

Midgley says any job at any level will be helpful in becoming a better coach.

“I think one of the best things you can do is work with young kids because it brings you back to the grassroots of hockey, it’s good for your development as a coach to work at all levels if you can.”