An unforseen chapter has purloined a page from the storybook season of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.
Thursday's surprise resignation of North American Hockey League coach-of-the-year Bill Warren has caught Fighting Falcons owner Maribeth Hayes off guard and caused some uncertainty within the Port Huron franchise.
Warren, who took the Fighting Falcons from the NAHL's worst record in 2010-11 to the North Division title in 2011-12, handed in his coaching resignation shortly after Hayes tapped Steve Shannon to take over as the team's general manager.
Warren, a full-time employee with the City of Port Huron, had performed the dual role of GM-coach with the Fighting Falcons.
Hayes, from her end, told me that on April 25, Warren told her that he wanted to relinquish the GM role but would remain as coach. Warren, on the other hand, denies wanting to step away from the GM duties.
Warren told me that when he learned that Shannon had been hired as GM, he stepped down as coach "because the writing was on the wall."
Caught in the middle is Shannon, who Hayes said was recommended to her "by a number of people."
Hayes said she only pursued Shannon because Warren had told her he did not want to continue as GM.
So, let's just say for now that what we have here is a breakdown in communications between Warren, who lives in Port Huron, and Hayes, who resides in California, just outside San Francisco.
But who will take over as coach of the Fighting Falcons?
How about Warren himself?
"Steve plans to talk to Bill and impress upon him that we would like him to reconsider and stay on as coach," Hayes told me evenly. "We are coming off a remarkable season. It makes no sense for us to not want Bill back as coach."
So, what is known at this point is that Shannon is the GM and that both he and Hayes want Warren back as coach.
Hayes added that she thinks being both a GM and coach in the NAHL and holding down a regular full-time job is too much for anyone. And as much as Hayes respects the job that Warren has done, she does think the Fighting Falcons need to improve in one major area.
"The main reason I bought this franchise (in 2010) was to give players the opportunity to play college hockey. Right now, our college commitments are not where I want them to be," Hayes noted. "Hopefully that's an area that Steve can improve upon."