By LOGAN CLOW
Mark Bomersback is in unfamiliar territory.
The former AJHL MVP (2002-2003) has never been tasked to be a GM. But, the 34-year-old believes his enthusiasm, eagerness and shared vision with head coach Matt Keillor will pay dividends as the new Grande Prairie Storm GM.
“It’s exciting for sure. It’s definitely a new position for me, but it’s something that will take some learning but it’s something I’m willing to take on with the challenge,” said Bomersback.
“I think it’ll be a good fit. Obviously working with Matt (Keillor) and the rest of the organization, it seemed like a no-brainer for me to say ‘yes’. I like the way this team is heading…”
Bomersback is already quite familiar with the Storm organization, which he noted has helped in the transition. In December 2016, he was hired as head scout and associate general manager and scouted a majority of the 80 players who attended the team’s weekend ID camp.
On top of his familiarity with the organization, the rookie GM also believes his knowledge of the game will be beneficial.
Before joining the Storm, Bomersback played for the AJHL’s Bow Valley/Canmore Eagles from 1999-2003. In his four-year AJHL career, he had 141 goals and 253 assists for 394 points.
He also played in the NCAA, ECHL, AHL and in the KHL For two years prior to joining the Storm, Bomersback worked with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers as a scout with a large focus on players in the AMBHL, AMMHL and AMHL.
“I played the game for a lot of years and played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and went to the NCAA and then played a little bit of pro, so I’ve been through the ranks and I’m not saying I’ll be a great GM, but I’ve definitely got a lot of hockey knowledge, I think,” said Bomersback will remain the Storm’s head scout.
“You’ve got to put in the work. When I played, I was a big believer in ‘work hard and good things will happen’ and that’s no different here. You’ve got to put in the work. You’ve got to find the players. You’ve got to have a good scouting staff and go from there.”
The Storm are only the second team in the AJHL to have a separate head coach and GM with Sherwood Park being the other.
Bomersback is aware the Storm’s Blaine Bablitz (GM) and Matt Hughes (head coach) experiment a few years ago was short lived.
“You (and the coach) have to be on the same page. If you’re not on the same page, it’s not going to work out well. The whole organization, from the board members to the assistant coach and trainers, everybody has to be working together and that gets the kids working together on the ice,” said Bomersback.
“It’s a good fit (with the Storm) and I’m happy to work alongside Matt and the rest of the staff.”
When it comes time to assembling a competitive team, both Keillor and Bomersback are looking for the same characteristics in players.
“I think we want to be a fast team… a team that works hard – you can never go wrong with hard work,” said Bomersback.
“Obviously, you have to have some skill in there and some grit. It’s trying to find the right mix. Obviously, you can’t have a team that’s full of skilled guys and you can’t have a team that’s full of big, crasher-bangers. It’s a matter of finding the right guys, the character guys… the guys that are good in the community, they want to come here, they want to develop, they want to move on to the NCAA…”