By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers are expected to introduce a new head coach today.
The Daily News has learned that the WHL team is on the verge of signing Guy Charron as its head coach for the remainder of this season.
Sources familiar with the situation have told The Daily News that Blazers general manager Craig Bonner met with Charron, who lives in Calgary, sometime during the last week.
Charron, 60, is expected to sign a contract that will cover the rest of this season. After the season, both parties will have the option of re-examining the situation before deciding on whether Charron will remain as head coach.
It is believed that for that to happen it would have to be a mutual agreement.
Barry Smith, who signed as the Blazers’ head coach prior to 2007-08, was fired on Oct. 26. At that time, assistant coach Scott Ferguson was named interim head coach. Under Charron, Ferguson will return to his role as assistant coach.
Geoff Smith, the club’s other assistant coach, will remain in place, as will goaltending coach Dan De Palma.
One source told The Daily News that prior to this season Charron was in the running for the head-coaching position with the Calgary Hitmen. Ultimately, Calgary general manager Kelly Kisio went with Mike Williamson.
Charron has been in coaching for more than 20 years. He has NHL experience with the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers. He also coached Landshut EV in Germany, the IHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques and the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.
Charron was an assistant coach in Florida (2005-08) but lost his job when the Panthers hired Peter deBoer as head coach and he chose to hire his own assistant coaches.
Charron also has experience with Canada’s national team, having been an assistant from 1985-90. It was while with the national team that he formed a real bond with Dave King, one of Canada’s best known coaches. Charron was on the Canadian coaching staff at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
He also was the head coach of the Canadian national junior team that won the 1990 world junior championship in Helsinki, Finland. The leading scorer on the national junior team at that tournament was forward Dave Chyzowski, a product of the Blazers who was loaned to the Baby Nats by the NHL’s New York Islanders. He finished with 13 points, including nine goals, in seven games.
A native of Verdun, Que., Charron played for the Montreal Jr. Canadiens before going on to an NHL career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals. He totalled 530 points in 734 games. Unfortuntately, the teams he played for didn’t have a whole lot of success -- he never played in even one NHL playoff game.
One of Charron’s claims to fame as a player was that he was involved in a trade involving Hall of Fame winger Frank Mahovlich. On Jan. 13, 1971, Detroit dealt the Big M to Montreal for forwards Mickey Redmond, Bill Collins and Charron.