Aug 1,2014(ISN) – Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Cougars have made significant changes to
their scouting staff for the 2014-2015 season. Cougars General Manager Todd Harkins
has promoted two current scouts to new positions, and has also hired two new B.C.
based scouts with championship credentials.
Bob Simmonds (Edmonton, AB) has been named Director of Scouting. Simmonds, a retired
RCMP officer (37 years), is thrilled to contribute to the New Ice Age.
“To say that I am excited and thrilled would be a major understatement. There’s a
lot of hard work that lies ahead for us, but I cannot wait to get at it,” comments
Simmonds, who permanently resides in Alberta, but spent a good portion of his life
living in British Columbia. He adds, “When I approach my scouting duties, I believe
that I am not only a representative of the hockey team, but also an ambassador for
the City of Prince George.”
“Bob Simmonds is a Prince George Cougar through and through and has seen it all over
the past seven seasons,” adds Todd Harkins. “He’s very detail oriented, with a keen
eye for talent at this level, and he has earned the opportunity to oversee our
Bill Horton (St. Paul, MN) has been promoted to the position of Director of U.S.
Scouting. Horton, 27, joined the Cougars prior to the 2013-2014 season, and has made
a very strong impression both with the Cougars and the rest of the Western Hockey
“The WHL is a hard-working league and Prince George is a hard-working city, and
we’re looking for character players from the United States who do the little things
right”, said Horton who played three professional seasons in Europe, most recently
in the Netherlands Elite League (2010-2012). “I’m very excited for training camp.
There are a lot of young Americans coming to our camp and fans will get to see some
of our future players on display.”
“Bill Horton is a young guy who has really impressed me with his ability to identify
talent and build relationships with U.S. born players and families,” comments
Harkins. “He is a go-getter who continues to climb the hockey ladder, and we know
that he will thrive in his new position.”
The Prince George Cougars are also thrilled to announce the hiring of two B.C. based
scouts who have both been valuable contributors to winning organizations. Trevor
Sprague (Prince George, B.C.) has been hired as a travelling scout for the team
while Tom Hengen (Vancouver, B.C.) has been hired as a Lower Mainland area scout.
Sprague will soon be entering his seventh season as Head Coach of the Cariboo
Cougars of the B.C. Major Midget League. He has also spent the past five seasons as
a Northern scout for the Portland Winterhawks, the four-time defending WHL Western
Conference champions. Sprague’s passion for the North and his close relationship to
Harkins made this an easy decision for him to make the move.
As the travelling scout, Sprague will represent the Prince George Cougars at all
B.C./Alberta high profile bantam tournaments and events during the season. His role
with the Cariboo Cougars will also be vital in the development of 2014 first round
draft pick Justin Almeida, who has committed to playing with the Cariboo Cougars
“Being a Northern guy, it’s so exciting for my family and I to join the Prince
George Cougars,” said Sprague. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be in the North.
It’s a perfect fit for me, and I’m really looking forward to further building hockey
in the North.”
“Nobody bleeds for the North like Trevor Sprague,” said Harkins. “He is an extremely
hard-working and trustworthy individual who has done a phenomenal job scouting and
recruiting for the Cariboo Cougars and he shares our commitment and passion to
building a perennial winner in Prince George.”
Tom Hengen joins the Prince George Cougars after spending the past six seasons as
Head Scout for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Hengen, who is the father of newly
hired Cougars assistant coach Michael Hengen, played an integral part in scouting a
Vees team that won a staggering 247 regular season during his tenure along with the
2012 Royal Bank Cup Championship in Humboldt, SK.
In addition to these changes, the Prince George Cougars have retained the services
of several regional scouts.
B.C. Interior Area scout Darren McFarland returns for his second season with the
Cougars while in Alberta, Corey Lyons (Rural Area) and Lyle Feser (Calgary) will
continue their scouting efforts. Jason Gordon will continue to scout the province of
Saskatchewan while Kirk McCuspey returns for his second season as a Manitoba area
scout. Down South, Ben Stromberg is back for his second season scouting the Rocky
Mountain Region of the United States while Los Angeles based scout Nick Gallo will
continue to scout the Western United States.
“Our scouting staff is comprised of great hockey minds who are all deeply committed
to building a championship team in Prince George,” adds Harkins. “These guys all
want to succeed, and they all want to eventually get to the NHL and we want to give
them every opportunity to do so.”
Prince George Cougars Training Camp begins on Friday, August 22^nd.