Photo: Robert Murray
CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Thursday the five finalists for its Coach of the Year Award, which is presented annually and determined through voting by the 10 leagues that comprise the CJHL.
Earning CJHL Coach of the Year finalist honours are Tom Keca (Fort McMurray Oil Barons – AJHL); Bliss Littler (Wenatchee Wild – BCHL); Ian MacInnis (Cornwall Colts – CCHL); Paul Dyck (Steinbach Pistons – MJHL) and Greg Walters (Georgetown Raiders – OJHL).
Listed below you will find information on each of the finalists:
AJHL: Tom Keca, Fort McMurray Oil Barons: Keca was earlier named the AJHL Coach of the Year, as voted by his peers from across the Alberta Junior Hockey League, for his efforts behind the bench with Fort McMurray. … In just two seasons as head coach of the Oil Barons, Keca has lifted the team from a 30-point season and a seventh place finish in the North Division in 2015-2016 to end up in first place during the most recent campaign.
With files from Charla Flett, Vice-President, Communications (AJHL)
BCHL: Bliss Littler – Wenatchee Wild: Littler guided the Wild, in their second year in the BCHL, to the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy for the league’s best regular-season record at 45-9-4 for 94 points. … Wenatchee led the league as well with a plus-159 goal differential. … The Wild were the only BCHL club to record a single-digit regulation loss total (9) and went undefeated in regulation time on home ice. … Littler was also named the BCHL’s top coach in 2016-17.
With files from Brent Mutis, Communications Director (BCHL)
CCHL: Ian MacInnis – Cornwall Colts: Guiding Cornwall to an impressive turn around, MacInnis coached Cornwall to a second place record of 41-14-4-3 and went on to be named CCHL Coach of the Year. … His efforts behind the bench saw his club post a remarkable improvement after the Colts finished ninth overall and out of the playoffs in the CCHL last season.
With files from Sean Marcellus, Operations Manager (CCHL)
MJHL: Paul Dyck, Steinbach Pistons: This past season he guided the Pistons to a first place overall finish in the MJHL standings. … He went on to be named the MJHL’s top coach for 2016-17. … The Pistons lost only 10 games this season. … Steinbach was also ranked No. 1 in the CJHL on several occasions throughout the season.
With files from Brian Smiley, Media Relations Officer (MJHL)
OJHL: Greg Walters – Georgetown Raiders: The 2016-17 OJHL Coach of the Year also earned the league honour back in 2011-12 to capture the award for the second time. … Walters led the Raiders to their first-ever OJHL regular season title by leading the league with a 45-5-4 record for an .870 winning percentage and 94 points, which were all new franchise records. … Georgetown was the most dominant team in the league on home ice losing only one game in regulation time for a 24-0-1 record, while also posting the second best road record at 18-4-3.
With files from Izak Westgate, Director of Operations (OJHL)
The CJHL would also like to recognize the five honourable mentions for its Coach of the Year Award:
LHJAAAQ: Pierre Petroni – Collège Français de Longueuil
MHL: Josh Hepditch – St. Stephen Aces
NOJHL: Kyle Brick – Blind River Beavers
SJHL: Doug Johnson – Nipawin Hawks
SIJHL: Kurt Walsten – Dryden GM Ice Dogs