Sunday, June 9, 2013


Press Release

VANCOUVER, B.C. (June 4, 2013) – The Coaches Site is pleased to announce that four top coaches from the Western Hockey League will be speaking at the 2013 Hockey Coaches Conference.  The third annual event features some of today’s most respected names and forward-thinking minds in the coaching fraternity.

Don Hay has earned one of the best coaching records in major junior history through more than two decades of coaching experience. Since taking the reins of the Vancouver Giants in 2004, Don Hay directed the team to a President’s Cup in 2006, followed by the Memorial Cup in 2007. During his tenure, the Giants have won five consecutive BC Division titles from 2006 to 2010. In addition to his coaching experience with the Vancouver Giants, Hay led the Canadian World Junior team to a Gold medal, going undefeated at this prestigious tournament in 1995. His distinguished list of wins, awards and accolades include three President’s Cup wins, three Memorial Cup wins, as well as being awarded the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2009. The CHL also honored Hay by naming him the best WHL coach of all time, and in 2008, he was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.

Mike Johnston, the General Manager and Head Coach of the 2013 WHL Champions Portland Winterhawks, and his staff led the team to the biggest turnaround in team history in 2009-2010. After taking over early in the 2008-2009 season, he improved the team by 48 points. Under Johnston’s leadership the Winterhawks have established themselves as one of the top development programs in North America, producing five NHL first round draft picks. Before arriving in Portland, he spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings as an Associate Coach. Prior to joining the Kings, Johnston served in the same capacity with the Vancouver Canucks from 1999-2006 where he played a major role in the team's resurgence. Internationally, Johnston worked for Team Canada from 1994-1999 serving as General Manager and Associate Coach, as well as Head Coach for the 1998-1999 seasons.

Mike Williamson is the seventh coach in the history of the Calgary Hitmen franchise. Williamson joined the Hitmen shortly before the start of the 2009 season and led them to their second WHL Championship.  Prior to his arrival in Calgary, he spent fifteen years with the Portland Winterhawks as both a player and coach.  He played for Portland from 1991-1994 and captained the team during the 1993-1994 season.  Following his playing career, Williamson stepped behind the Hawks bench and spent over five years as an assistant coach and a member of the 1998 Memorial Cup Championship team. Mid way through the 1999-2000 season, he was named head coach of the Winterhawks. In his first full season as head coach, Portland advanced to the WHL Western Conference Final in 2001. That same season he was named the WHL Western Conference Coach of the Year.

Joining the three WHL head coaches at the conference is Ben Cooper, the current Victoria Royals Assistant Coach. Cooper has been a member of the Royals staff since the organization arrived in Victori in 2011. This past season he helped guide the team to a franchise best record of 35-30-2-5 and sixth place finish in the Western Conference. Prior to his role with the Royals, the BC native spent time in Calgary as Hockey Canada's Manager of Men's National Team Video, and as an Assistant Coach with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans.  At the senior level, Cooper has served as the Video Coach for both the 2009 and 2010 World Championship Men's Teams, and was Video Manager of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Gold Medal winning Canadian Men's team. The 34 year old began his coaching resume in Toronto in 2005, when he was named Video Coach for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

2013 Hockey Coaches Conference:

    August 9-11, 2013
    Delta Hotel & Conference Centre, Burnaby BC
    Registration online at
    $399, includes pass for all three days, catered meals and complimentary gifts

The event focuses on coaching strategies, conditioning and skill development in an interactive environment. The format will consist of presentations, workshops and breakout sessions.

 (Nathan can be reached at

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