Gregg Drinnan reported on his "Taking Note" blog he figures former Vernon Vipers associate coach Kris Mallette was a high-end candidate for a head-coaching position in the WHL or elsewhere. Instead Mallette signed a two-year extension as assistant coach with the Western Hockey League Kelowna Rockets through the 2020-2021 season.
There are 22 WHL teams not to have a head coach under contract. Mallette is just one of a number of WHL assistant coaches who would seem ready to step up. Gregg Drinnan reports former Vernon Vipers forward Luke Pierce, former Vernon Vipers Head Coach/GM Mark Ferner, Mark Holick & former Vernon Vipers Head Coach/GM Mike Vandekamp all could have a shot or at least be given a second opportunity at landing a head coaching job in the Western Hockey League.
Mallette a Rockets Alumni & current Rockets Assistant Coach was an Associate Coach with the Vernon Vipers for one season (2013-14) before leaving the Vipers for the Rockets 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:
There are 22 WHL teams not to have a head coach under contract. Mallette is just one of a number of WHL assistant coaches who would seem ready to step up. Gregg Drinnan reports former Vernon Vipers forward Luke Pierce, former Vernon Vipers Head Coach/GM Mark Ferner & former Vernon Vipers Head Coach/GM Mike Vandekamp all could have a shot or at least be given a second opportunity at landing a head coaching job in the Western Hockey League.
Pierce finished his first season as an assistant coach with the Western Hockey League Edmonton Oil Kings, was also an assistant coach for Canada’s National Sledge Team at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. Pierce also spent two seasons as head coach with the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice before being fired June 2 2017. The Oil Kings named Pierce their new assistant coach July 23rd 2018.
In two seasons with the Ice Pierce went 26-100-16-3. Pierce was also an assistant coach with Canada’s national men’s under-17 team in 2016 & an assistant coach for Team Canada/Team Red at the 2017 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in November. Prior to joining the Ice Pierce spent the previous six seasons as Head Coach-GM of the Merritt Centennials. Pierce was named BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the year in 2013 played his final year of Junior hockey in Vernon (2003-04) after being acquired from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations on June, 10th 2003. In 53 regular season games with the Vipers Pierce collected (7-goals-21-assists-28-points).
Luke Pierce's Player-Coaches Profile:
Mark Ferner spent eight seasons in Vernon (2007-2011 & 2014-2019) as Head Coach/GM with the Vipers.
Mark Ferner's Player/Coaching Profile:
Vandekamp finished his first season with the BCHL Cowichan Capitals, spent the previous seven seasons as Head Coach/GM of the Nanaimo Clippers before being fired December 22nd 2017. Vandekamp was Head Coach/GM of the Vernon Vipers from 2001-2005 before leaving for the Western Hockey League Prince George Cougars.
Mike Vandekamp's Coaching Profile:
Holick finished his first season this year coaching the Yale Hockey Academy Prep school. Holick spent the previous two seasons with the HC Pustertal Wolfe. HC Pustertal Wölfe – Val Pusteria Wolves are an Italian professional ice hockey team from Bruneck, currently playing in the Alps Hockey League.
Holick was Head Coach-GM of the Vipers for one season (2006-07) before leaving for the Western Hockey League Kootenay Ice. Holick left the Vipers for the Ice a week before the Vipers Training Camp during the 2007-08 season. Holick posted a record of (37 wins-19 losses-1 tie-3 overtime losses) guided the Vipers to the BCHL League finals where Vernon fell in six games to the Nanaimo Clippers.
After leaving the Vipers Holick spent seven seasons coaching in the Western Hockey League with Kootenay & Prince George as well as two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Syracuse Crunch before coaching in Italy.
Mark Holick's Player-Coaching Profile:
This was posted on Gregg Drinnan's Blog:
Mallette staying on Rockets’ staff
greggdrinnan Posted on April 24, 2019
The Kelowna Rockets have signed assistant coach Kris Mallette to an extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. Mallette’s contract was to have expired at the end of this season.
Mallette, 40, has been on the Rockets’ coaching staff since the 2014-15 season.
A defenceman, he played four seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Moose Jaw Warriors, 1996-2000), before going on to a nine-year pro career. He has been coaching since 2010-11 when he was an assistant coach with the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
With the Rockets, he works alongside head coach Adam Foote, who is preparing for his first full season with Kelowna.
For what it’s worth, Kris Mallette, who has signed a two-year extension with the Kelowna Rockets, was on my list of the ‘next ones’ — high-end candidates for head-coaching positions in the WHL or elsewhere.
Mallette just finished his fifth season on the Rockets’ coaching staff, and he obviously likes it just fine right where he is. Of course, re-signing with the Rockets means he’ll get to coach in the 2020 Memorial Cup, what with Kelowna being the host team.
At the moment, the Kamloops Blazers are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have a head coach under contract. They and head coach Serge Lajoie went their separate ways on April11, after just one season together.
Many hockey people are assuming that co-owner Darryl Sydor will be the Blazers’ next head coach, and that the feeling will prevail until/unless the team announces otherwise. Sydor was named a full-time assistant coach on Feb. 12.
In the meantime, Mallette is just one of a number of WHL assistant coaches who would seem ready to step up.
Jeff Truitt, 53, is a former Kelowna head coach who now is an assistant under Marc Habscheid with the Prince Albert Raiders. Before moving to the Raiders, he spent five-plus seasons on the Red Deer Rebels’ coaching staff.
Kyle Gustafson, 38, has been on staff with the Portland Winterhawks since 2003-04 and is more than ready to be a head coach. He has been with the Winterhawks in good times (a WHL title in 2013) and bad (11 victories in 2007-08). You can bet that he has learned the business and the game while working with the likes of Ken Hodge, Mike Johnston, Travis Green and Don Hay.
Ryan Marsh, 44, is a former WHL player (Tri-City, 1992-95), who has been in the coaching game since 2003-04 when he signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort Saskatchewan Traders. He later spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears and four with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He just completed his first season as the Saskatoon Blades’ associate coach.
Scott Burt, 42, is another former WHL player (Seattle, Swift Current, Edmonton, Red Deer, 1994-98) and now is in his fifth season on the Spokane Chiefs’ coaching staff. He spent the last three seasons of a 13-year pro career as the captain of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces and then began his coaching career by spending two seasons with them.
Luke Pierce, 35, is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings, but may be ready for a second stint as a WHL head coach. He spent five-plus seasons in his hometown as general manager/head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials before spending two seasons as head coach of the faltering Kootenay Ice. When looking at Pierce’s background, you can’t discount that fact he spent five seasons playing at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.
Mark O’Leary, 34, just completed his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors. From Owen Sound, Ont., he played in the OHL with the Mississauga IceDogs and Guelph Storm (2003-06), before playing professionally for five seasons.
Brian Pellerin, 49, has been coaching since 2002-03 when he was a playing assistant coach with the CHL’s Amarillo Gorillas. He went on to spend four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks and now has been the Tri-City Americans’ associate coach for five seasons. As a player, he spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders.
Of course, let’s not forget that there are some really experienced head coaches who just may be available, too.
Don Hay, 65, the guy with more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history, isn’t retired. He spent this season as an assistant coach in Portland and you can bet that he wants to keep on coaching.
Don Nachbaur, 60, is the third-winningest regular-season head coach in WHL history. He has worked as the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. He signed on with the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach after the 2016-17
season. His posting in L.A. lasted a season and a bit; he was fired when the Kings dumped head coach John Stevens on Nov. 4. This spring, Nachbaur provided analysis on broadcasts of Tri-City playoff games.
The Kings also hired Dave Lowry, 54, as an assistant coach prior to the 2017-18 season after he had been the head coach of the Victoria Royals for five seasons. Lowry was dismissed by the Kings on April 17 after Todd McLellan was hired as head coach.
Steve Konowalchuk, 46, was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons, guiding them to a WHL title in 2016-17. He was then hired as an assistant coach by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, a job that lasted one season. He now is an amateur scout with the New York Rangers. But, hey, maybe he’s got the coaching bug, again.
There also are other men out there with previous WHL playing and/or coaching experience who might be worth another shot, like Mark Ferner, the director of hockey operations and head coach with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers; Mike Vandekamp, the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals; Jason Becker, who has completed three seasons as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees; Ryan Papaioannou, the GM and head coach of the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits; Andrew Milne, the GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles; Paul Dyck, the general manager, director of hockey operations and head coach of the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons. . . .
Of course, in this day and age, there also are former WHL coaches like Mark Holick and Enio Sacilotto who now are coaching at hockey academies.