Kelly McCrimmon, the owner of the defending-champion Brandon Wheat Kings, has started filling holes created by his decision to leave the WHL team for the NHL’s expansion Las Vegas franchise.
|The Brandon Wheat Kings' coaching staff: David Anning|
(left), Don MacGillivray, Aaron Rome and Tyler Plante.
(Photo: Brandon Wheat Kings)
McCrimmon also was the Wheat Kings’ general manager and head coach when he decided to join Las Vegas as its assistant general manager.
On Thursday, McCrimmon, who remains owner and governor, didn’t name a general manager — Grant Armstrong, assistant general manager and director of player personnel with the Victoria Royals is believed to be the favourite — but he did fill out the coaching staff.
David Anning is the Wheat Kings’ new head coach, moving up from assistant coach, a position he filled for the past four seasons. At 30, he is the youngest head coach in the WHL, two years younger than Luke Pierce and three younger than Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Anning, from Winnipeg, did two turns as head coach last season, going 9-3-1 while McCrimmon was attending meetings in Calgary and also serving as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
Joining Anning as assistant coaches are Don MacGillivray, a veteran coach who has been the general
MacGillivray, 51, also from Winnipeg, has coached in the WHL, having spent two seasons (1996-98) with the Prince Albert Raiders. The bulk of his career, however, has been spent in the MJHL, where he is a four-time coach of the year, although he also was the head coach of the U of Manitoba Bisons for three seasons (2006-09).
Rome, 32, is from Nesbitt, Man., a small farming community just south of Brandon. He played in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice, Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors (1999-2004). Rome went on to a pro career that included 226 games in the NHL. Rome’s career was ended by injury and the Dallas Morning News has reported that he is suing an insurance company and the NHL for compensation.
The Wheat Kings also announced that Darren Ritchie, 42, who had been the team’s second assistant coach, now is the director of scouting. Ritchie played four seasons (1991-95) with the Wheat Kings. He had been on the coaching staff for nine seasons. Ritchie, from Minnedosa, Man., replaces Wade Klippenstein, who left the Wheat Kings to join the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as a western scout.
Also joining the Wheat Kings is Tyler Plante, who will work as goaltending coach. Plante, from Brandon, played three seasons (2004-07) with the Wheat Kings and was the WHL’s rookie of the year in 2004-05. He retired after spending the past three seasons in Europe. As goaltending coach, he takes over from Matt Cockell, now the vice-president of corporate sponsorships for True North Sports and Entertainment in Winnipeg.
The Wheat Kings also have hired Chris Trivieri, 27, as their athletic therapist. He takes over from Josh Guenther, who left after three seasons in Brandon and now is with the Red Deer Rebels. Trivieri, from Welland, Ont., has worked with the junior A Oakville Blades, the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
The Wheat Kings also revealed the Czech D Daniel Bukac, 17, who was selected in the CHL’s 2016 import draft, will be on hand when training camp opens on Aug. 30. He had 15 points, including three goals, in 38 games with the U-18 Chomutov team last season.
Swedish D Linus Nassen, Brandon’s other 2016 selection, isn’t expected to report. A third-round selection by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s 2016 draft, Nassen, 18, is expected to play with with Lulea’s U-20 and SHL teams this season.
The Wheat Kings also have Russian D Ivan Provorov, 19, on their roster. The WHL’s top defenceman in 2015-16, he will either play for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers or the Wheat Kings this season.
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