PORT HAWKESBURY: After three years of serving as the head coach of the Strait Pirates, David Marston has stepped away from the team.

“I’m proud of having had the opportunity to coach this franchise, the most historic franchise in the province,” he told The Reporter last Thursday afternoon, just a couple of hours after letting the Pirate executive know his decision.

“People here have been able to keep it running for over 50 years, and to be able to say I coached here and was given that opportunity is an honour. It was a tough three years, but there were a number of positives out of it.”

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As he indicated, his three years with the team were not without some hard times.

In 2014-15, the Pirates finished seventh in the 11-team league, going 16-16 in regulation time with two shootout losses.

During the 2015-16 season, the squad finished the sixth in the 11-team league, winning 13 of 34 games in regulation time and winning four in overtime.

This season, prior to being eliminated in the first round of playoffs, the Strait finished the regular season in ninth place. The Pirates had seven regulation time wins and seven wins in either overtime or via shootout.

Behind the scenes, the Pirate club was dealing with an ever-shrinking executive and, in addition to coaching, Marston was pitching in as an executive member and the general manager.

The workload was not small, but Marston was able to do a number of things during his time that are noteworthy. Having the lead role in establishing training camps to help minor hockey players will be a part of Marston’s legacy, and it’s one of which he takes pride.

“In the last two or three years, we’ve had hockey schools and mini-tournaments with the minor hockey kids and it’s made for good relationships between them and our players,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll end up playing here in years to come.”

The outgoing coach said he’s worked with some great people during his time behind the bench. This year’s four overagers were great guys to work with, he said, along with a number of other players to wear the maroon and white.

Assistant coach Kenny Wood was also a great person to work with, Marston said, noting that he spent a lot of time with Wood and his wife Trina along with their kids. Luke Warner and Jesse MacLean also did great work as assistant coaches, Marston said.

“Those three guys were a big part of my time here, and they deserve a lot of credit,” he said.

The executive members were also always ready to help out too, he said.

Marston added the decision to leave was a personal one, and it had nothing to do with his feelings about the local hockey club.

It was just time to do other things, he said.

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Sports reporter Grant McDaniel is a Port Hood native, who after graduating from StFX University, joined The Reporter in 2001.