The Comox Valley Glacier Kings will have a new – but familiar – face coaching them this season.
On Tuesday, the team announced Jordan Butcher is replacing Kevin Hasselberg, who joined the team last spring after Jim McLean stepped down. “Kevin has accepted the head coach (and GM) positions with the Battlefords North Stars of the SJHL. We would like to thank Kevin for his time spent with us and we wish him and his family the best of luck,” the Yetis stated on their website.
The North Stars posted the announcement on their website on Aug. 5. “I can’t express how enthusiastic our family is right now about making the trip out to North Battleford,” said Hasselberg in a statement.
In an e-mail to the Record, Hasselberg said, “It wasn’t an easy decision to make and certainly wasn’t in the plans. Our family was excited to come to the Glacier Kings and work with the Webbs, Paul, Steve, Tom, the players, and fans.
“This simply was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down to coach full time in a year-round position and one step closer to achieving my own goals. The Glacier Kings will be a great team moving forward and will always remain in our hearts as a tremendous opportunity to work with first-class people.”
Butcher said his appointment as the Yetis’ new bench boss was finalized on Aug. 9. “I found out Kevin was leaving about three or four days ago,” he said Wednesday, adding he was extremely happy when he got the call telling him he was the new coach.
Butcher was an assistant coach with the Icemen for the last two years under McLean and played for the Glacier Kings from 2004-07. The Glacier Kings’ main camp goes this weekend, and Butcher sounds confident heading into the 2011-12 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.
“I’m excited. A lot of the guys that Kevin signed already I already knew beforehand…local kids just from watching them and some of them I coached a few years ago (with the Bantam Rep Chiefs) before I started with the Kings.
“My philosophy will be a lot of the same as what Jim taught me over the last couple of years as far as strategy goes. I was pretty lucky to have him as a mentor with all the experience he has and everything he’s pushed forward.”
Butcher said there will be good local representation on this year’s Glacier Kings. “There’s three returning local guys and maybe four more carded locals. And our Midget team last year was pretty strong. They made it to provincials and did quite well, so there’s some pretty strong players coming up.”
The 24-year-old former forward recalls having some good years with the Glacier Kings. “We never really made a huge push any of the years. We were a middle of the pack team. There’s nothing major as far as memories,” he said.
The Glacier Kings’ main camp opens tonight and runs Saturday and Sunday at Comox Valley Sports Centre Arena #2. Their conditioning camp (by invite only) goes Aug. 27-28 at Sports Centre #1.
The Yetis play exhibition games with the Campbell River Storm Sept. 3 at home and Sept. 4 on the road. They open the regular season Sept. 9 at Peninsula Panthers and host the Panthers Sept. 10 in their home opener.