Photo by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com
The Nighthawks and Major League Ultimate announced today that Head Coach Patrick Gatien will return for 2017.
The Vancouver Nighthawks announced today that Head Coach Patrick Gatien will return to lead the team for the 2017 season.
“I’m excited to see what we can build on the base we set last year,” said Gatien. “The players at our disposal have an enormous amount of raw skills. What we found tough last year was that players who had been standout high school or university players couldn’t just run roughshod against more experienced and just-as-skilled players from the other West Coast teams. I’m excited to see what a year in the league will do for all the rookies we had last year.”
Gatien started his ultimate career in Ottawa, helping to found a Mixed division team with Julie Seaborn and Stephan Thibert that featured a number of great players new to the competitive scene in Ottawa, many of whom still play and enjoyed great competitive careers.
Later, the club team Blackfish was founded after Gatien moved to British Columbia.
“I was one of the captains on a new Open team called Blackfish,” he said. “I played six years with that team and we enjoyed a great deal of success. We had some failures, but awesome camaraderie. After taking a break for a few years to focus on other things, I came back to ultimate last year as coach of the Nighthawks and managed to finish fourth at Canadian Nationals with Blackfish.”
Gatien took the reigns for the Nighthawks just before last season and immediately began assembling a team to compete in the Western Conference. Despite going 1-9 in the regular season in his first year at the helm, the former Blackfish captain is committed to building around all of the promise that he saw in his team last season.
Nearly half of the Vancouver roster last season consisted of Blackfish club players including 2016 Western Conference MVP finalists Taylor Nadon and Erik Hunter. Gatien continued to spend a lot of time with his players after the end of the MLU season through the end of the club season and beyond.
Coaching a roster without much chemistry as a rookie head coach in the MLU was no easy task, but Gatien was able to find rewarding elements in the team’s struggles last season.
“Coaching my first season in the MLU was both frustrating and rewarding at the same time,” Gatien said. “Frustrating in the sense that we obviously didn’t finish with a great record and that I felt like I let the team down in not being able to get a few more wins. On the other hand, it was rewarding in the sense that it was good to be back in ultimate and the great strides the team and players took during the year.
Gatien said that the goals for next season are still under discussion with the team’s leadership core, but there is no doubt that the team is poised to be more experienced and better overall in 2017 with Gatien back in charge.