Thompson Rivers announces pair of assistant coaching departures, additions
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - Submitted by TRU Men's Hockey
There will be a couple of new faces among the coaching staff of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack hockey team come September.
General Manager Chris Hans and head coach Don Schulz have announced that current assistant coaches Shane Zulyniak and Joel Leonard are leaving the organization and that they are being replaced by Kevin Johnston and Mark Chase.
Says Hans: "Shane Zulyniak unfortunately won't be able to commit as much time to the hockey team next season. He has children in sports and needs to dedicate more time for them. Shane will help where he can next season."
Zulyniak was an assistant coach with the WolfPack for the past two seasons.
Schulz says Leonard’s career as an accountant with Daley and Company in Kamloops, B.C. has made his time limited. Leonard was an assistant last season after graduating from the hockey program in 2010-11.
Coming into the program are Johnston and Chase, who will become the team’s first video coach.
Chase is a former Kamloops Minor Hockey Player who had Hans as a coach. Currently a scout for the Prince George Cougars, he himself coached in the KMHA before taking the scouting role.
"I have never been involved in breaking down video before," he says. "I’m really looking forward to it. Being involved in this aspect of the WolfPack hockey organization will fit in well with my scouting role with the Cougars."
Johnston has worked with head coach Schulz in minor hockey over the past 10-15 years. It is also notable that Johnston was minor hockey’s rep coach of the year last season. He is a former CIAU player—going to school at UBC. He played Junior B hockey in Ontario before attending university.
"Don was aware that I am interested in working with more mature athletes," he said. "Chris and Don discussed whether it would be appropriate for me to help out this year. I am ecstatic to be asked and I’m looking forward to hopefully work with the team over the next few years."
As for a role on the club?
"Don really takes every coaches opinion into account and we work as a unit," he says. "But in the past, I have worked with the defensive core. That is where most of my experience as a player was and is my strong suit."
Kevin’s son Trent played for the WolfPack for a year and a half (2009-11) so he is familiar with the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League.
"It is a very high calibre league," he says. "There is getting to be more and more Western Hockey League graduates in it. It is high tempo. We are dealing with men who have a lot of experience playing the game and they know how to do it. It will be interesting and a fun challenge working on the more technical side and strategy of the game."
In addition to his coaching experience, Johnston also brings insight of being a former student/athlete.
"I am hoping I can bring some experience to the team," he says about what he can pass onto the WolfPack players. "It is a very challenging part of playing university sports—maintaining your grades, doing well at the sport you are playing and giving yourself a bit of time to have a little bit of fun and relaxation. It is hopefully something I can help the players with. I do have some experience and advice about how to do it. Just keeping things at a level that is accomplishable and not to over extend yourself."
Johnston, who is employed with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in Kamloops, will accompany the hockey team on the road this coming season.
Terry Bangen and Andre Larouche will return as assistant and goalie coach respectively for TRU.
The WolfPack begin their 2012-13 BCIHL training camp the first week of September.
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