Allison relishes chance to coach Thunder

Dave Allison got tired of calling family and friends back home to inquire how the Borderland Thunder was doing in their inaugural season this past winter.
Well, the longtime coach will get the closest look possible next season. The 43-year-old Fort Frances native signed on to coach the team Monday mainly to come back home.
“Throughout the season, I’d always be curious how things were going with this new junior team,” Allison said Monday night. “ . . . being able to coach in the place I love and grew up in was the real kicker.
“To combine both passions is the ultimate.”
A former coach in the OHL, UHL, IHL, and for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, Allison coached the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL the past two seasons but was not resigned in April.
“There was some other [coaching] options out there,” said Alli-son, whose last local coaching duty was with the ‘AA’ Midget Canadians three years ago. “But the more I thought about it, the more I talked about it with my family, it became intriguing.
“It became a real possibility.”
Thunder president Shawn Jour-dain said Allison will help improve the team as it takes aim at the Royal Bank Cup (the Tier II Junior ‘A’ national showdown).
The Thunder have an automatic berth in the Dudley Hewitt Cup (provincials) as the host team.
“It’s a big year for us. All we’ve done is added Dave to the mix with a lot of experience,” said Jourdain.
Allison signed a two-year deal with a window clause after the first. He said he’s willing to continue the goal of developing hockey in Rainy River District.
“I’m here to learn what they’ve done. I’m here to facilitate the plan they have in place,” said Allison, who also runs the ‘AA’ hockey camp here with brother, Mike, during the summer.
Wayne Strachan had coached the team in its first year to a regular-season best 28-11-9 record before losing to Dryden in the SIJHL final in April. He won the league’s inaugural Coach-of-the-Year award last month.
Strachan was offered a chance to return as assistant coach, along with his assistants Neil Cooper, Shane Bliss, and Sean Taggart. He was to meet with team owners at Couchiching today to discuss his future.
Bliss already has said he doesn’t plan to return to the team.
Strachan admitted he didn’t know the Thunder were looking to make a coaching change and called the handling of the situation a “disappointment.”
“Up until last Wednesday, I believed I was the head coach of this team. I told them I would come back,” he said. “I thought and trusted them and that I’d be head coach.”
“Wayne had a good year, we’re grateful for everything he did. It was tough to make a decision like that after the season we had,” said Jourdain.