Parrish to step down after 15 seasons
The Invicta Dynamos will have a new coach for the upcoming 2019/20 campaign as current Head Coach Kevin Parrish steps back from the bench to take on his new position as club owner after an incredible 15 seasons in charge.
Kevin Parrish will announce his successor at the club’s End of Season Presentation Evening being held on Friday 5th April at the St George Hotel in Chatham from 7.30pm to midnight.
Kevin Parrish has been a part of the Invicta Dynamos since day one – scoring the club’s first ever goal in their debut game on the Isle of Wight as a 21 year old forward back in 1997. He would go on to play a total of 210 fixtures for the Mos, finding the net 35 times, claiming 69 assists, tallying 104 points and amassing 273 minutes of penalties.
In 2004/05, Parrish swapped the ice for the bench as he took over the coaching reigns from Phil Chard though he still suited up on the odd occasion. “Phil stepped away and I was already involved in coaching having worked through the coaching levels at a relatively young age” he says. I suffered a knee injury and struggled to get back playing and, given that the team were doing well at the time, I thought it suited both them and myself if I stayed on the bench”.
So began a coaching career that has now spanned a remarkable 15 seasons – a period that has seen him mastermind the collection of six league championships, two national titles, a pair of cups and two playoff titles and bring them all back to Gillingham. It hasn’t always come easy but Parrish maintains that he has enjoyed coaching. “Playing is definitely far easier and probably more fun” he tells us, “but I enjoy the role of coaching a lot more. There are plenty of challenges, but I like trying to set things up and watching them work, or not”.
As for highs and lows, there have been many. “Highlights for me include winning the National Final in Coventry in 2008/09 having previously struggled against our opponents Sheffield every year before then, the Grand Slam campaign of 2005/06 and our latest Playoff win in Chelmsford at the end of 2016/17”. Rather than on ice defeats, the lows are confined to much more personal losses. “Nothing could compare to the loss of Andy Martin” says Parrish. “Andy was a great teammate, friend and hero and his tragic passing in 2009 was the most difficult moment of my time here so far. We pulled together, held a fantastic memorial game for him and he will never be forgotten. That’s what this club is about”.
So after 15 seasons of late night training sessions in the week and barking orders from the bench at weekends, what has made the current Head Coach decide that now is the time to pass on the reigns? “With Jackie and Andy Mason retiring from their roles as club owners and Sarah and myself assuming their positions, I felt the time was right to move on. As new owners we will be looking to bring some fresh ideas to the table and I felt it was time for the same to happen on the ice and in the dressing room”.
With changes in ownership and a change in coaching it’s fair to say that the Dynamos are undergoing a period of transition but Parrish is positive about the club’s immediate future. “It’s no secret that the past couple of years have been extremely challenging both on and off the ice but I’m excited about what next season holds. The last 20 odd years have felt like a rollercoaster that has absolutely flown by and now it’s all about ensuring we have a bright, successful and long future.”
Parrish then moved to address the club’s supporters when he added, “I would like to thank the fans for their incredible support over the years. When we’ve lifted trophies they’ve celebrated wildly with us and when we’ve struggled they’ve stood firmly behind us providing great encouragement. I’ve always said they are the best in the league and I still firmly believe that. The fans power this side and we simply wouldn’t exist without them. I would only ask that they continue to offer their fantastic support to the new Head Coach when 2019/20 gets underway”.