‘The 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 in the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B. on Jan. 12, 2022. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The Tommies men’s basketball assistant coach Dominic Laviolette was selected to lead the U17 boy’s New Brunswick team to compete in nationals this summer. 

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

Laviolette said he is looking forward to working with a different age group and that he intends on implementing a similar coaching style to the one he currently uses at St. Thomas University.

Laviolette’s basketball journey started in Bathurst, N.B., where he played for his local high school. Afterward, he began doing video work at St. Francis Xavier University for the varsity team to stay connected 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 while he was still in his third year.

He said his passion for coaching peaked during his undergrad at StFX, while he ran practices for his fellow classmates on the team. While pursuing his education degree at STU, he became the assistant coach for the Tommies. 

The provincial basketball circuit is well-known to Laviolette as he’s been involved with the Team New Brunswick program since 2018. He coached the U16 boy’s provincial team, as well as assistant coaching the U17 boy’s provincial team.

Laviolette said he enjoys having a competitive environment in the gym, meaning the players he chooses should enter the camp expecting a high level of intensity, similar to the Tommies’ practices.

Aside from the intensity, Laviolette said it is important to create 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 forward for the men’s basketball team, said he felt Laviolette was “a real player’s coach,” and always feels comfortable reaching out to him for guidance and help.

“Our coaches always say to ‘do your role’ but coaches have a role to play too and I think [Laviolette] does his super well,” said Lavoie. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend, morning or night – if I message him to get some extra training in, he’s always down to help me get to work. I literally don’t think he’s ever said no.”

Tommies head coach John Hickey is seen here in this archive photograph from October 2021. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Laviolette’s colleague of three years, and Tommies head coach John Hickey, also had high praises for the future head of the U17 team.

“His basketball knowledge is second to none. He’s a real student of the game, which makes him a fantastic coach,” said Hickey. “I’m really looking forward to watching Dom lead a younger group of athletes to such a big tournament.”

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

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