Photo Courtesy: Ed McPherson / OJHL Images

A familiar face will be behind the bench for the Wellington Dukes next season, this time in a head coaching role.

Former Dukes player and assistant coach Ryan Woodward was officially named interim head coach and GM following the departure of longtime boss Marty Abrams to the rival Trenton Golden Hawks last month.

Woodward has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach under Abrams in Wellington and was given the additional task of assistant general manager in 2016-17.

Prior to that, the County native held the dual positions for the Picton Pirates and led them to an Empire B Jr. C championship in 2013, an experience he says will serve him well in his next endeavour with the Dukes.

As a player, Woodward suited up for four seasons with the Dukes from 1999 to 2003. In his final season (2002-03), he was named co-captain of the team, led the club in regular season scoring with 89 points in 48 games, and was a big part of the Dukes OJHL and Dudley Hewitt Cup championship teams. Woodward then went on to attend Oswego State for four years culminating with the schools first ever NCAA Championship in 2007.

Woodward originally was named head coach and GM of the NOJHL’s Timmins Rock in May, but was let go a couple weeks later.

Woodward will get set to work on building his roster for the 2017-18 season, with training camp just a month-and-a-half away.

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