‘Backbone of our coaching staff’: Tommies assistant coach selected to lead U17 provincial team

Tommies men’s basketball assistant coach Dominic Laviolette holds a basketball for this portrait at the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick on Jan. 12, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/ QA)

Tommies men’s basketball assistant coach Dominic Laviolette has been selected to lead the New Brunswick men’s U17 team that will compete in the national championships this summer.

“It’s a very immersive experience for players,” he said. “We take national championships very seriously as a province, so I’m looking for players who come in with an open mind.

Laviolette said he looks forward to working with a different age group and intends to implement a coaching style similar to the one he currently uses at St. Thomas University.

Laviolette’s basketball journey began in Bathurst, New Brunswick, where he played for his local high school. Afterwards, he started doing video work at St. Francis Xavier University for the varsity team to keep in touch with basketball. He took on various responsibilities and expanded his knowledge of the game, which gave him the opportunity to help the coach during practices when he was only in his third year.

He said his passion for coaching peaked during his undergraduate studies at StFX, when he led practices for his classmates on the team. While continuing his studies at STU, he became an assistant coach for the Tommies.

The provincial basketball circuit is well known to Laviolette as he has been involved in the Team New Brunswick program since 2018. He coached the U16 men’s provincial team, as well as the assistant coach of the U17 men’s provincial team. .

Laviolette said he likes having a competitive environment in the gym, which means the players he picks should come into camp expecting a high level of intensity, similar to the Tommies’ workouts.

Besides intensity, Laviolette said it’s important to build relationships with his players.

Geoffrey Lavoie, pictured here in this submitted portrait, is a forward for the STU Tommies men’s basketball team. (Submitted: STU Athletics)

Geoffrey Lavoie, STU’s forward for the men’s basketball team, said he thought Laviolette was “a real player coach” and always felt comfortable asking him for advice and help.

“Our coaches always say ‘do your part’ but coaches also have a part to play and I think [Laviolette] does her super good,” Lavoie said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s weekends, mornings or evenings – if I message him for extra training, he’s always there to help me get to work. I literally think he never said no.

Tommies head coach John Hickey is seen here in this October 2021 file photo. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Laviolette’s colleague of three years and Tommies head coach John Hickey also praised the future U17 team leader.

“His knowledge of basketball is unmatched. He’s a real student of the game, which makes him a fantastic coach,” Hickey said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing Dom lead a group of younger athletes to such a big tournament.”

Hickey said Laviolette is no stranger to winning at a high level, as he was part of the New Brunswick team that won bronze when the tournament was held in Fredericton.

“Dom is the backbone of our coaching staff,” Hickey said.