Memorial Cup host Sea Dogs name MacDougall interim coach a month before tourney

University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall speaks during a media event in Saskatoon on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (Liam Richards/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Saint John Sea Dogs, who will host the Memorial Cup this year, have named University of New Brunswick men's hockey coach Gardiner MacDougall as their interim coach after taking the unusual step of cutting ties with Gordie Dwyer less than a month before the tournament, Sportsnet's Jeff Marek reports.

The Sea Dogs were eliminated in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs, but have an automatic berth in the Memorial Cup next month as the host team.

Marek says MacDougall will return to his university job upon the conclusion of the tournament.

Marek also reports Rocky Thompson, who played in the AHL for the Saint John Flames, will join the Sea Dogs in an advisory role. Thompson was head coach of the 2017 Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires and also has been a head coach in the AHL and an assistant in the NHL.

New Brunswick has won seven national university championships under MacDougall, who has been head coach of the team for 22 seasons. The school is in Fredericton, about an hour away from Saint John.

Dwyer, a New Brunswick native and former NHL player, was named head coach of the Sea Dogs last summer.

The Memorial Cup starts on June 20.

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