Edmonton, AB - Steve Hamilton was born with the Edmonton Oilers and Oil Kings in his blood, so it's only fitting he is now an official member of the hockey club.
Hamilton has been hired as an assistant coach for the Oil Kings major junior hockey team that competes in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Oil Kings made the official announcement on Tuesday at Rexall Place.
"Steve has a great coaching background and is ready to take his career forward, and we're really glad it's happening with us," Oil Kings General Manager Bob Green said of the hiring. "He's had a lot of success in the past and really proven himself to be a winner. We want to bring that winning attitude to the Oil Kings."
Hamilton has deep ties to the Oilers and Oil Kings organization, as his father Al played in three consecutive Memorial Cups with the Oil Kings during the 1960s, leading the club to the national championship as team captain in 1966.
He went on to play for the Oilers from 1972 to 1980, mostly in the World Hockey Association (WHA) before the Oilers joined the National Hockey League (NHL) for his final season of professional hockey in 1979-1980. He was the first-ever captain of the Oilers, wearing the 'C' from 1972 to 1976.
"My dad had a long career with the Oil Kings and Oilers organization, and I hope I have even a fraction of the success he had," Hamilton said of continuing his family's legacy with the club. "That would be quite remarkable."
For the last four years, Hamilton has been the Head Coach and General Manager of the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. During his tenure, the Saints had a phenomenal 164-47-6-27 regular season record, and they captured the AJHL's Enerflex Cup championship this past spring.
Hamilton joins Head Coach Derek Laxdal on the revamped Oil Kings coaching staff. Laxdal was hired as head coach on June 18, 2010, coming to Edmonton from the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), where he was the Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations.
"It's an exciting new chapter in my coaching career," said Hamilton, who is an instructor at The Hockey Program at Vimy Ridge Academy in Edmonton. "I'm really looking forward to working with Bob and Derek and being part of the organization."
"Steve is very good, technically, and he's got a good relationship with the players, which will be very important for us with this particular role," Green added. "With head coaching experience, I think he'll be able to bring a lot of additional knowledge to Derek. They have the same approach to the game, and I think they'll work well together."
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)