The 2017 Six Nations Jr. B Rebels will be under the tutelage of Miles General and a new coaching staff when the season begins.
General has been through a few wars of his own in recent years and months; however, he is a changed man and has a new focus and passion for life and the game he grew up playing.
When asked by the Two Row Times where he has been lately, General answered quickly and unashamedly, saying, “I’ve been in jail”.
General admits to having a serious alcohol addiction, which ruined his marriage and sent his life spiralling out of control.
“I realized I had an addiction to alcohol and was getting help but I still had outstanding driving charges I had to face,” he explains. “I was fortunate enough to do my 14-month sentence at the Ontario Correctional Institute where they help you with your problems, mine being alcohol.”
He considers his rehabilitation as essential in his life.
“It may have been 14 months away from my community and family but it probably added years to my life,” he says. “I finished my sentence at Native Horizons and they were amazing. It’s so good to be Miles again.”
General was concerned about how the community would accept him once he got out of jail and rehab, but says people have been warm and accepting since coming back.
He now does motivational speaking.
He believes that a part of coaching teens and 20 year-olds is being there for them on and off the floor. That is one of the things that attracted the Rebels management towards General.
“I want them to feel free to talk to me about anything, not just as a coach, but as a friend,” he says. “It’s a very delicate time for these guys at that age.”
But his primary job this summer is going to be restoring the once great Rebels dynasty of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 when they won an unprecedented four Founders Cups in a row.
The past two seasons have not produced that same magic for one reason or another, but General is determined to follow his father’s footsteps and coach a Rebels team to another Founders Cup, as his dad, Dave General did in 1993. Miles was a part of that team as well.
“It’s not about me,” he says. “It’s about the players, their work ethic and their dedication.”
This past January 28th weekend, the try outs began for the 2017 Six Nations Rebels squad with more than 60 would-be Rebels all seeking a spot on the roster.
“Everyone had a chance to show what he had, with a guaranteed three practices,” he says, “but that number was trimmed down to around 29 cream players to choose from.”
Some will be trying out for the Arrows Jr. As and some will no doubt make it, but a goodly number of others will return from last season as well.
General admits to some between seasons internal squabbles but believes everything will be worked out soon. The Rebels executive meeting is coming up soon where this year’s Rebels top brass will be chosen.
Communication will be a hallmark of General’s Rebels who encourages open and frank discussions.
“Nothing can be fixed and a problem can’t be know unless it is heard,” says General. “And it cannot be heard unless it is voiced. Then we can work on it.”
For now, General is distancing himself from any internal tensions and is staying focused on what he was hired to do. Coach the Six Nations Rebels to another Founders Cup.