Is there any place Don Nachbaur hasn’t been to?

The 61-year-old, who was born in Kitimat and raised in Prince George, continues to live his hockey dream.

When one job ends, it seems another offer is on the table.

As a player, he suited up for 10 teams (Merritt Centennials, Billings Bighorns, Springfield Indians, Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Moncton Alpines, New Haven Nighthawks, Hershey Bears, Philadelphia Flyers and Graz EC) in five leagues, BCHL, WHL, AHL, NHL and Austrian.

After grinding out 69 points (23 goals) and a whopping 465 penalty minutes (or two per game) over an NHL career of 223 games, and then playing four seasons in Austria (one year with 197 penalty minutes in 53 games) Nachbaur at age 35 wanted to stay in the game.

He took up the next best thing to playing and that was coaching.

He has coached like he played, hard-nosed, aggressive and with an attitude that every game demands 100 per cent commitment.

There has never been any slack for ‘Snack’, (Nachbaur’s nickname) the ultimate old school coach and proud of it.

He is the third-winningest head coach in WHL regular season history with 692 victories, only behind Don Hay and Ken Hodge, after successfully guiding Seattle, Tri-City and Spokane although he came up short to winning a championship with those three teams.

In between WHL stints, Nachbaur was an AHL assistant with the Philadelphia Phantoms (01-02 and 02-03) and an AHL head coach with the Binghampton Senators (09-10).

He finally got his chance to be an NHL coach, although it was a short period as an assistant with the LA Kings for one season (17-18) and part of another.

After getting released with the Kings, Nachbaur was hoping for a homecoming, applying for the head coaching job with the PG Cougars but GM Marc Lamb decided to keep both roles and eventually brought in Jason Smith as an associate.

Entering his 60’s Nachbaur could have easily gone into retirement but hockey was too much in his blood so when HKM Zvolen (Slovakian League) called to run the show behind the bench he jumped at the chance for a few months.

Today, another opportunity, in another country that presents a new challenge.

Nachbaur has signed a two-year deal as head coach of SC Bern, which plays in Switzerland’s National League.

He replaces Hans Kossman, who finished the 2019-20 season after the firing of Kari Jalonen.

If you don’t think they love their hockey in Bern, think again.

Bern has led all of European hockey in attendance for 19 straight years, including the recently completed pandemic season with a whopping average of 16,237 fans a game, nearly 3,000 more than the #2 ranked team in attendance SKA St. Petersburg (Russia) with an average of 13,594

Switzerland is a small country with four different official languages: German (74%), French (20%), Italian (4%) and Romansh (1%) – the remaining 1% speaks other languages.

Bern is not that much bigger than Prince George with a population of 134,000 in a country of 8.6 million.

Including Bern, Nachbaur has played or coached in five countries and a total of 18 teams.

That’s dedication, determination and devotion to a game that has been a significant part of his life.

And when things eventually come to an end for the PG Sports Hall of Famer in Switzerland, don’t bet against him landing another coaching gig, no matter what his age is at that time.

One may try to take Nachbaur out of hockey but one will never be able to take hockey out of Nachbaur.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

A recent study has shown that steroid use increases longevity. This confirms that Barry Bonds is one of baseball’s immortals.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

 

As hotels are announced for NBA teams at Disney World, I think I speak for all comedy writers in saying it’s a real shame the Knicks aren’t part of this. The jokes just write themselves with “Mickey Mouse Organization.”

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

Well, the New York Jets couldn’t stop Lamar Jackson, but a Jet Ski almost did.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

 

The European Badminton Championships — originally scheduled for April 21-26 in Kyiv, Ukraine — have now been cancelled. At least, that’s what a little birdie told us.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

The PGA cancelled the July 2020, John Deere classic due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, Dear — No Deere.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca