Former Komets coach Al Sims thinks he's found the perfect retirement job. It's so good that a buddy needed only two beers to talk him into it.
After retiring at the end of last season, Sims, 60, has been named the co-head coach for the Brantford Rattlers of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League, the same organization the Komets signed Artem Podshendyalov out of a few years ago.
"I was going along and having a great time, and this opportunity just came up last Thursday,'' Sims said from his home in Muskoka, Ont. "It started getting a little cooler, and I thought, `I'm supposed to be doing something, aren't I?'
"I had checked with a few people on scouting positions in the NHL, but didn't get anything with that. This just kind of came up and ended up working out for me. It sure wasn't something I expected.''
Sims compared the opportunity to General Manager David Franke calling him six years ago to see if he was interested in coaching the Komets again.
Sims is a co-coach because Rattlers coach and General Manager Johan Lundskog is remaining behind the bench after leading the team to a 42-0 regular-season record last year and the league playoff championship. The hard part is the Rattlers will have an entirely new roster when the season starts Sunday.
The Rattlers, who work out of the World Hockey Centre in Brantford, are owned by long-time Sims friend and fellow Toronto-native Bob Russell who offered the job. Sims said he's going to mainly work more as a director of hockey operations on the player development side, running junior and pro camps.
"I'm proud that I coached pro hockey until I was 60 years old, but I still have a passion for mentoring kids,'' Sims said. "I figure the more kids I can help get to the pro level the better. This is keeping me in hockey, and more importantly it's doing something I love.''
Sims said the job is perfect for another reason as his mother has struggled with falls and suffered a broken hip last season. Sims is an only child and his father passed away about six years ago so he and his wife Sue sold their house in Fort Wayne last week, and this allows them to also be closer to his mother's Toronto home.
"I'm the only one who can help her, and maybe this is all happening for the right reason,'' he said. "This should work out perfect for us. This will provide peace of mind for Mom and us.''
Sims said he met with Komets management David and Michael Franke this week, and everyone wished each other the best. He also plans regular communication with new Komets coach Gary Graham.
"They are really happy for me,'' Sims said. "Gary and I are in touch all the time. It's been a great relationship with him, and I hope he continues to use me as a mentor when he needs me. I hope he has all the success.''