By Garry McKay
The Hamilton Spectator
For Mark Bernard, the irony is inescapable.
For the past two seasons, the 39-year-old Hamilton native and former ECHL goaltender has been the vice-president, assistant general manager and governor of the Norfolk Admirals and, in both of those years, the American Hockey League team he ran did not play the Hamilton Bulldogs. In fact, Norfolk has never played Hamilton.
Bernard and Hamilton president Glenn Stanford agreed they had to remedy that situation and the two teams will play each other during the 2008-09 season.
Ironically, Bernard is no longer in Norfolk, so he won’t be coming home with the Admirals this season. He accepted a position with the Chicago Blawkhawks and will be based in Rockford, Ill., home of their AHL affiliate. And the Rockford IceHogs don’t play the Bulldogs this year.
“I think I’m destined not to come home during the season.”
Bernard said the offer from the Blackhawks to be their general manager of minor league affiliations came a little out of the blue.
“My first year in Norfolk, two years ago, was the last year we were affiliated with Chicago before they moved to Rockford,” Bernard explained.
“I got to know all the people within the Blackhawks organization at that time and we stayed in touch a little this past year. I guess they thought I would be a good fit for a position that had come up and they called me on June 5 and offered me the job.”