The British Columbia Hockey League's Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce that Head Coach and General Manager Luke Pierce has agreed to terms of a three-year contract extension through the 2012/13 season.
"This signing is a significant step in achieving our goal of becoming a strong contender in the BCHL," said Centennials President Jerry Canuel. "This provides our organization with the stability and long-term focus necessary for success. Luke is well respected in our community and despite his relatively short time in the BCHL, he is also very well respected by other teams and coaches. He has a passion for the game and he embraces the 'team' attitude and philosophy."
Pierce took over head coaching duties in November following the departure of Dylan Forsythe and led the Centennials to their first playoff appearance since the 2006/07 season.
"The Centennials Board of Directors felt that with the team's improvement in the latter part of last season along with the enthusiasm and passion Luke has for hockey and our community, it was essential for him to be involved in the future and overall direction of our organization," said Cents Governor and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett.
With the extension announced, Pierce turns his attention to building on a successful season with a core of talent that includes leading scorer Dustin Johnson, rookie stand-out Jeff Jones and 2010 BCHL All-Star Steve Tresierra.
"I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue my young coaching career here in Merritt," said Pierce. "The Centennials and this community have a very special meaning to me not only as a hockey coach, but also as a proud resident of the Nicola Valley."
"My goal for the next three years is to create a culture here with our players that our fans can directly relate to," continues Pierce. "Along with the Board of Directors, my aim is to establish the Centennials as the pride of this city and in time, I believe we will accomplish that."
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)