The uncertainty of Matt Keillor’s future with the Grande Prairie Junior A Storm has been decided.
Thursday, the organization announced it had signed Keillor to a two-year deal and option as head coach. In addition, the Storm announced Mark Bomersback will be the GM.
In mid-December, Keillor was brought in to replace former head coach and GM Kevin Higo for the remainder of the season with the ‘interim’ tag. Keillor was able to guide the Storm to their first playoff berth since the 2012-2013 season. The team’s playoff hunt was short as they were ousted in the first round against the Whitecourt Wolverines.
Bomersback, a former AJHL MVP, joined the Storm in late December as head scout and associate GM.
“There was definitely some good (coaching) candidates that we could have changed direction (with), but we were committed with where we were at with Mark coming on board with Matt and having the foundation of (assistant coach/business manager) Dennis Rix here already,” said Mel Vollman, a Storm board of directors member, at a Thursday press conference.
When all was said and done and after multiple meetings with Keillor, Vollman said it was evident he was the right guy for the job.
Vollman said Keillor not only guided the Storm to the playoffs, but also did a good job of developing character players and creating a team identity, and as well as working closely and extensively with Bomersback to recruit and identify players.
The reason why the organization opted to have separate individuals as GM and head coach was due to inexperience. While Keillor has an extensive hockey coaching background, he’s never been a head coach and/or GM at the junior A level.
Vollman noted Bomersback, who has never been a junior A GM, has a wealth of contacts at various hockey levels, has played a high level of hockey (including the AJHL), is enthusiastic, and has always had strong relationships with players and their parents.