Yesterday, the Washington Galaxy became the second team to dismiss its general manager since the end of the season. The team issued a statement announcing that it had terminated its GM, Ace Adams, who had been with the team since the beginning of the SHL.
“The Galaxy organization thanks Ace Adams for his five years of dedicated service,” the press release read. “We have made the difficult decision to go in a different direction, as we start planning the course that will lead our organization to its first SHL championship.”
In the SHL’s early years, Adams was applauded, as the Galaxy made it to back-to-back SHL Finals in 2015 and 2016. As the team’s core began to age and the East’s other teams improved, however, Washington seemed unable to keep up. Initially, coach Rodney Reagle took the brunt of the criticism for the team’s decline, and he was fired at the end of the 2018 season when the Galaxy collapsed down the stretch and finished below the .500 mark for the first time. But the team dropped even further under new coach Peter James, ultimately staggering to a fifth-place finish.
As the Galaxy’s season wore on, Adams came under increasing criticism for being overly loyal to the team’s declining veterans, rather than seeking to rebuild. Adams did deal away a pair of veterans, C Eddie Costello and RW Nori Takoyaki, at this year’s trade deadline – but according to team sources, he did so reluctantly. With the team looking at a potential rebuild and facing offseason questions about whether to re-sign some key contributors – including star winger Jefferson McNeely – owner Perry Dodge reportedly wanted a new hand on the wheel.
Adams defended his record when contacted by reporters. “I’ll stand by my decisions,” he said. “I thought a couple of division titles and a consistent record of contention would buy me some more slack. Yeah, the bottom kind of fell out the last season and a half, but I think our core was solid. I thought it was time for a retool, but [Dodge] apparently thought it was bigger than that. In the end, he’s the one signing the checks, so his way goes. But I gotta say, I wasn’t expecting this now.”
The team’s decision to announce the firing via press release, rather than in a press conference where reporters could ask questions, raised eyebrows around the league. According to team sources, the publicity-shy Dodge – who has never met publicly with reporters during his ownership of the team – declined to appear in front of the cameras.
Adams said that Dodge telephoned him to deliver the news. “I asked him for a reason,” the former GM said, “and he wouldn’t say anything besides the fact that they’re going in a different direction. I thought after five seasons, I deserved more of an answer than that.”
The press release contained no news on a successor for Adams, and team sources said no interviews had been scheduled. Former New York Night GM Royce McCormick, who was let go last month, is available. However, it seems unlikely that Dodge would go in that direction. It seems more likely that the team will tab an up-and-coming assistant who’s shown a good eye with the draft and with young players – someone more like Taylor Teichman, who was hired as GM of the Seattle Sailors last season and guided the team to its first-ever playoff berth.