The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club announced on Tuesday that Rylan Ferster has resigned from his position as Head Coach and General Manager ahead of the 2018/19 season.
Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Geoff Grimwood has been named the interim Head Coach and General Manager while Assistant Coach Matt Miller and Goaltending Coach Chad Carder remain with the team.
The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native has spent the past seven seasons with the Warriors, guiding the team to six straight postseason berths as well as the club’s first Interior Division Championship, BCHL Fred Page Cup, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup National Championship in 2016. Coaching in a total of 406 regular season games from 2011-2018 with the Warriors, Ferster compiled a very strong 210-150-35 record, finishing second in the regular season Interior Division race three times.
Ferster has been a part of many successes in the Junior ‘A’ ranks through the years, beginning in the Kootenay’s with the Trail Smoke Eaters at the beginning of the 1999 season before shifting ways to Vancouver Island and taking over at the helm of the Victoria Grizzlies and eventually to the Shuswap to join the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. After a year in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with the Revelstoke Grizzlies and coaching the Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, the veteran coach transitioned into the Okanagan in West Kelowna.
“There’s so many people to thank over my seven seasons in West Kelowna,” commented Ferster, “I’d like to thank the Cheyne family for bringing me on in 2011 and being great people to work under. I’d also like to thank Kim Dobranski for keeping the team in West Kelowna and working as hard as he has to give a chance for hockey to stay in a great community like West Kelowna.”
“The coaching staff I’ve had over the years, billet families and fans have been incredibly supportive and wish the team all the best in the future.” Continued Ferster, “I leave knowing I joined the program in great shape and am leaving with a strong group of talented players.”
“It’s difficult to see an experienced and highly respected coach like Rylan go,” stated Warriors owner Kim Dobranski, “He meant a lot to the people in this community and we’d like to thank him for everything he has done with the program and always fielding a competitive and entertaining team in one of Canada’s toughest Junior ‘A’ divisions.”
Grimwood, 37, takes the helm behind the bench on an interim basis after being named Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager in early July. The Victoria, BC native spent the last three seasons as the bench boss with the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), helping them to a 79-82-8-5 record over the last three campaigns including playoff berths in each of his three seasons in Kindersley and playing into the quarterfinal round twice.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity from Mr. Dobranski to step into the Head Coach and GM job on an interim basis,” said Grimwood, “The most important thing to me was having the support and encouragement of Rylan to take the job. I am disappointed not to be able to work with Rylan but am excited to build on the culture, success and tradition he has built in West Kelowna.”