(FREDERICTON, NB) Charlie Cameron has traded the navy and light blue of the Fredericton Police Force for the red, white and black of the Varsity Reds.
After three decades as a police officer, 28 of those in Fredericton, Cameron retired earlier this year.
With some time on his hands, he’s reconnected with fellow Prince Edward Islander Gardiner MacDougall, who has added him as an assistant coach with the Varsity Reds men’s hockey team.
“It’s going to take a little getting used to,” said Cameron. “I’ve been removed from the game for a while, and the speed and pace of the game has changed so much.”
Cameron made his debut behind the VReds bench last week, during an exhibition game against UPEI.
“I’ve known Gardiner for some time, and it was a conversation that started last winter, and one thing led to another… and as the old expression goes, here I am.”
Cameron is no stranger to hockey… or UNB.
He played with the Red Devils during the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons, recording 27 points in just 23 games.
Cameron also served as an assistant in the St. Thomas University hockey program, more than a decade ago.
As for all those years spent enforcing the law.
“I’d like to think there’s a little bit of management skill that might be an attribute,” said Cameron.
“It’s nice to have a veteran hockey mind,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
MacDougall remembers a younger Cameron as a pretty good hockey player, and notes the family has turned out good players and coaches.
“He’s coached in our league before,” said MacDougall. “He’s got good pedigree as a player and a coach.”
Charlie’s brother, Dave, was head coach of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, and is currently an assistant with the Calgary Flames.
A former centre, Cameron will work with the Varsity Reds offence.
“I think I’m going to be involved with some of the offence, in particular the faceoffs… and then, I’ll probably be a work in progress from there.”
MacDougall says Cameron is a welcome addition to the staff.
“I don’t think you can have enough good people in your organization. He’s just retired as a police officer, and sometimes it’s good to get a guy that’s been outside the inner circle, he might see something that we don’t see.”