By Ryan Pyette – London Free Press
The London Nationals have assembled a big-name bench staff in short order.
David Matsos, a former OHL head coach with Hamilton and Sudbury, will take the reins while London Knights legend Dennis Maruk and Rumun Ndur, both ex-NHLers, are the new assistants.
Their arrival comes two days after the departure of former head coach Colin Martin, who disputes claims he resigned from the first-place team, and assistants Adam McKee and Ryan Shipley.
“My phone started blowing up when people knew there was an opening,” London GM Tony Mandarelli said.
“We had a number of really good candidates. David is a guy who played a high level of hockey and coached. He’s a great addition. Dennis is a London Knights legend and Rumun has been with the Nationals in the past.
“I think it’s a great staff. I’m not taking away from the guys we had and Colin will end up in a coaching job somewhere (in the future) with no problem whatsoever.”
Matsos, who lives in St. Thomas, played on the 1993 Memorial Cup champion Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds before a two-year run with the Western Mustangs. After stints as a player and coach in the American league and in the U.K., he joined the Windsor Spitfires as an assistant in 2010 and was an associate coach with Hamilton when it won an OHL title in 2018.
Nationals assistant GM Bill Dark got to know Matsos through their Windsor connections and worked with him through the Bulldogs.
“He’s a really respected coach and quality guy,” Dark said. “Our players are lucky to have a group with this experience coaching them now and to be able to build this quality of staff in-season is nothing less than remarkable.”
Maruk, one of the great scorers in Knights history and a 66-goal man with Washington in 1981-82, has 888 NHL games under his belt.
Ndur’s hard-nosed style earned him 69 games of big league duty and some interesting minor-league stops, including the infamous Danbury Trashers of the United Hockey League. He was an assistant on a couple of Sutherland Cup-contending Nationals teams under Pat Powers before coaching in the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs organization for the last few years.