Ryan McGill is back as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. McGill, 43, who was the Ice’s head coach from 1997-2002, has signed a three-year contract. . . . He replaces Kris Knoblauch, who lost his job in one of the stranger coaching-related episodes in WHL history. The U of Alberta Golden Bears apparently expressed an interest in Knoblauch, who, at the time, had a year left on his contract. As things progressed, Ice president and GM Jeff Chynoweth gave Knoblauch a one-year extension, through 2013-14. However, Chynoweth later learned that Knoblauch was to interview for the U of A job; Chynoweth promptly terminated Knoblauch’s contract. . . . McGill, who was the Ice’s head coach when it won WHL titles in 2000 and 2002 and the Memorial Cup in 2002, was away from coaching last season after being dropped from his role as assistant coach by the Calgary Flames. . . . The Ice had a regular-season record of 174-133-43 in McGill’s first stint. In playoffs under McGill, the Ice is 42-19. . . . After leaving the Ice, he was a head coach in the AHL (Hartford Wolf Pack, Omaha Ak-Sar Ben Knights and Quad City Flames) before joining Calgary in June 2009.
That leaves the Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Royals as WHL teams without head coaches.
The Wheat Kings dismissed Cory Clouston after last season, while the Royals lost their general manager and head coach when GSL Holdings Ltd., the parent company of the Royals and RG Properties, moved Marc Habscheid upstairs.
If you’re wondering, the rumour mill is mostly quiet on both fronts, although Cleve Dheensaw and Mario Annicchiarico of the Victoria Times Colonist throw some mud against the wall right here.
Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail takes a look right here, as only he can, at what has transpired since Sunday in NHL free agency.
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