MARQUETTE - New head coach Jim Jackson is keeping an open mind about the type of style he'd like to see the Marquette Electricians Midget AAA hockey team play this season.
But hard work and dedication to teamwork isn't something he plans to compromise on in his first head coaching job at any level.
"Hockey is a fairly simple game that involves systems and involves hard work and dedication," he said Monday, a day after being hired by a Marquette Junior Hockey Corporation committee that oversees its highest-level team of mostly high school-age players.
Jackson is a former professional who has played in at least a half dozen countries. He is also a former Electrician and Northern Michigan University defenseman who sees that experience as an asset with his hometown Midget AAA squad.
"I've had some great coaches in my college and professional career," he said while asked questions about those teams. "I plan on using bits of that and the tradition of the Electricians program that draws character kids.
"I still have a passion for the game, and this program is always something I wanted to be a part of. The Electricians helped form a successful career for me."
He also spoke about his Electricians head coach when he played for them from 1995-97, which included a state championship.
"And Joe Burcar had a real rapport with us as players, too," Jackson said.
Like Burcar then, Jackson is relatively young by coaching standards at age 33, though he was the main assistant coach at Marquette Senior High School last season under Mike L'Huillier.
With the Electricians, he is working with a compressed schedule as the team was originally set to have tryouts the week of the Fourth of July. With the sudden departure of two-year head coach Mark Nebel less than a month ago due to work commitments, tryouts have been delayed to Aug. 2-4.
"We have a vision of the program," he said about himself and the 11-member committee that oversees the team. "Obviously, we want kids to come back to the program and extend that out to surrounding areas of the Upper Peninsula and other areas, too, and give them an opportunity."
With a relatively youthful team last season, the Electricians struggled to an 0-22-6 start before finishing on a nearly .500 pace to end up at 9-32-10.
The team plays in the Northern Lakes Hockey League with the Thunder Bay Kings of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Shattuck St. Mary's of Faribault, Minn., and the Madison Capitols of Madison, Wis.
For more information on the team, visit the website www.mqthockey.org/page/show/351834-electricians-aaa-2012-2013-.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.