Brandon, MB. – The Brandon Wheat Kings have announced that General Manager Kelly McCrimmon will be returning to the bench for the 2013-14 Western Hockey League season.
Following a disappointing season that saw Brandon finish last in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with a record of 24-40-4-4, McCrimmon has elected to relieve Dwayne Gylywoychuk and assume the head coaching duties of the WHL club.
The second winningest coach in franchise history with 330 victories, McCrimmon had compiled an impressive 294-177-35 record in seven seasonssince replacing Mike Kelly in March 2004. In addition to capturing the Eastern Conference Title in 2005, McCrimmon led Brandon to three Eastern Division pennants and to within a win of the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship.
“After lengthy consideration I decided that this was a necessary change,” says McCrimmon. “Sometimes in this business you have to make hard decisions on good people and this was one of those times.”
McCrimmon stepped down as head coach in 2011, naming Cory Clouston as his replacement. Gylywoychuk, who has been a member of the Wheat Kings’ coaching staff since 2003, was named the club’s head coach last August.
A 5-year WHL player, Gylywoychuk was offered another role within the organization but after having time to consider, the 39-year old Winnipeg native has elected to leave the team in an effort to pursue other coaching opportunities.
“Dwayne and I did discuss the possibility of him staying on in a new position with the organization for the past few weeks,” McCrimmon went on to say. “Dwayne is family…we are sorry to see him leave but respect his wishes to do so. This was a very difficult decision. He has done so much for our organization.”
Assisting McCrimmon this season will be Darren Ritchie and David Anning. Ritchie returns for his seventh year with the Wheat Kings, while Anning is entering his second after spending several seasons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
In addition to Ritchie and Anning, Brent Zelenewich will return for his second season as Goaltending Coach of the WHL club and Jim Frederickson will be back for his eleventh season as Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The 2012-13 season marked the first time in thirteen years and only the second in the past 21 that the Wheat Kings failed to make post-season play.
The Wheat Kings, who will open up Training Camp in a month, will bring the curtain up on their 2013-14 season with a weekend home and home series with Moose Jaw on September 20th and 21st.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)