Former Vernon Vipers Associate Coach Kris Mallette is interested in the Kelowna Rockets coaching position.
Mallette a Rocket Alumni & current Rockets Assistant Coach was an Associate Coach with the Vipers one season (2013-14) before leaving the Vipers for the Rockets on July 4th 2014. Mallette was selected 62nd overall in Round 3 at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers played ten years in the Minor Pros with Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Asheville, Elmira, Colorado, Youngstown, Laredo and Flint before starting his coaching career.
Kris Mallette's Players-Coaches Profile:
This is posted on Regan Bartels Kelowna Rockets Blog:
Mallette interested in vacant coaching position
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Kris Mallette believes he is ready to be a head coach in the Western Hockey League.
The assistant coach of the Kelowna Rockets admits he would be thrilled to take over the vacant head coaching duties with the team if given the opportunity.
Mallette is a strong candidate, considering he understood the expectations of the organization as a player and now as a coach.
"I think I have paid my dues. I did work my way up through minor hockey, junior 'B', Junior 'A' and now the WHL. You are coaching junior players. The message is the same. The X's and O's haven't changed. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel here".
Mallette played two seasons with the Rockets in the late 90's before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors to close out his junior career.
"This will be my eighth year coaching junior hockey players. You pick up good, bad, new things and old things. The biggest thing, the year we went to the Memorial Cup, I say it was three seasons in one. The expectations of winning were there and so that's where I think I grew most as a coach", Mallette added.
General Manager Bruce Hamilton has encouraged both Mallette and assistant coach Travis Crickard to apply for the job, which came open this week when the team parted ways with Brad Ralph.
"I have had success over the years to be able to have guys that want to play for me just because of the relationships I have built with the guys off the ice and that they are not just hockey players and I treat them like a person".
A successor is expected to be named by the end of June.
This is posted in the Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper:
Rockets no closer to naming new coach
Kelowna GM in Red Deer for Memorial Cup, plans to start interviews in June
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016
The Kelowna Rockets’ coaching search is ongoing. Slow and steady thus far.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 70 applicants had expressed interest, with at least a couple of them jumping out as possible fits for Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton. But he plans to do due diligence upon returning home from the Memorial Cup in Red Deer — where Hamilton is busy with his WHL chairman duties — and a hiring announcement isn’t expected until sometime in June.
“To be honest, I’m not any closer (to naming a new coach),” Hamilton said. “I’m filing them all and I’ll take some time probably next week to go through some things. It’s a research project now . . . and then the personal interviews will probably be what settles it.
“There’s a couple guys that I’m very interested in right off the hop,” he added, without name-dropping any candidates. “I take everything in confidence because the majority of them have jobs right now. Out of respect to them, I don’t (discuss individuals).”
The Rockets are searching for their fourth bench boss in as many seasons after parting ways with Brad Ralph on May 9. Ralph wasn’t hired until August last year and his tenure was short-lived for a variety of reasons.
Ralph had no prior experience coaching junior — he came from Idaho and the East Coast Hockey League — but that isn’t deterring Hamilton from potentially hiring out of the professional ranks again.
“No, it doesn’t really matter to me,” Hamilton said. “They’re coming in from all over the place, and a lot of guys that applied last year.”
Hamilton is casting a wide net, noting that he has business in Toronto next month and could end up meeting with candidates from Eastern Canada or the Northeastern United States. Others will be brought into Kelowna for face-to-face interviews as well.
Worth noting, neither of the Rockets’ current assistants — Kris Mallette nor Travis Crickard — have applied for the vacant position. Crickard’s contract is up for renewal and Hamilton hopes to retain both on next season’s staff regardless of who takes the head-coaching reins.
“They may (still apply), but my meeting with Travis was excellent — he has a full understanding of what I’m thinking about,” Hamilton said. “I think he did a wonderful job with the goalies and I thought Kris did a pretty good job with the defence. To be fair, I think they need some more time, some more mentorship.”
In saying that, Mallette and Crickard would be an invaluable resource to somebody hired from outside the organization. Hamilton hasn’t finalized any decisions but doesn’t anticipate the new coach would demand the opportunity to handpick his assistants.
“If I’m bringing a guy back from pro to here, he needs somebody who’s been here that can totally understand how it works here,” Hamilton said. “It’s such a dramatic change from what you’re doing up above. In pro, you’re not in charge of (the players) once they leave the rink. Here, once mom and dad drop them off, we’re in charge of looking after them 24 hours a day.”
Clearly, Hamilton is in no rush to find the right coach.
Asked if he planned to conduct any interviews in Red Deer, Hamilton said no — at least not formal ones.
“There will be guys that will approach me, that’s going to happen,” he said.
Hamilton doesn’t plan to expedite the process given the Vancouver Giants’ recent hiring of Glen Hanlon as general manager — they still need a head coach too — or Mike Johnston’s return to Portland in a dual role.
Prince George is also in the market for a coach, but Hamilton believes time is on his side through the month of June. He’d like to make a hire prior to the NHL draft, which begins June 24 in Buffalo, N.Y.
“I don’t think I’m going to lose anybody to other teams necessarily,” Hamilton said. “I think most of the guys probably see our (job) as a pretty good landing spot, so they’re going to wait and see what we do probably.”