August 1, 2019
Twenty five years ago, a pair of future CCAA national hockey champion head coaches continued their coaching rivalry in the off season.
From the fall of the 1993 through the spring of 1996, Scott Atkinson and Don Depoe faced one another in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference as head coaches of the Mount Royal College Cougars and NAIT Ooks respectively. During that period, each would bring home a conference championship.
In the summer of 1994, the two squared off in the Northwest Division of Roller Hockey International with Depoe and Atkinson behind the bench of the Edmonton Sled Dogs and the Calgary Radz respectively. The Radz finished second in the division and were eliminated in the quarter finals. The Sled Dogs placed fifth in the division and missed the playoffs.
With the Radz folding and the Sled Dogs relocating to Orlando after the 1994 season, the pair once again matched lines in the ACAC before capturing gold at the CCAA National Hockey Championships. Depoe would coach the Ooks to a national title in 1996, while Atkinson would guide the Cougars to national titles in 1998, 1999 and 2001.
Depoe is now the chief operating officer of Dept 9 Studios after coaching stints with EHC Straubing in Germany and with Basingstoke and Hull in the United Kingdom.
Atkinson is now the general manager and head coach of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL. He has also served as head coach of the University of Calgary in the CIS.