North Okanagan Knights name new bench boss

Vernon’s Jim Armstrong, a minor hockey coach for 19 years, takes over as the Knights bench boss

Jim Armstrong has been named new head coach of the North Okanagan Knights Junior B hockey club.

Jim Armstrong has been named new head coach of the North Okanagan Knights Junior B hockey club.

The North Okanagan Knights want to reinforce its community presence for the 2014-15 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.

To that end, the team’s board of directors has announced a new head coach with the same thought process.

Vernon’s Jim Armstrong, a minor hockey coach for 19 years, takes over as the Knights bench boss from Shawn Webb, who tendered his resignation in May.

“We’ve been quite successful on-ice for two or three years now, and Jim shares the ideology of the board as far as community involvement, and that’s the emphasis this year,” said Chuck Gallacher, the Knights’ general manager.

“We’re a development team on ice, full of 17- and 18-year-olds, and Jim also shares that philosophy. We’re very pleased to have him, absolutely. It’s a very positive step for our organization.”

The Knights finished fourth in the Okanagan Division last year with a record of 24-26-0-2, but then knocked off the pennant-winning Summerland Steam in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

North Okanagan lost the conference semifinal in five games to the Osoyoos Coyotes.

The Knights reached the league final in 2013, losing in five games to the Castlegar Rebels.

Armstrong, 48, parts manager at Vernon Volkswagen, returns behind a bench after a year off. His minor hockey resumé includes the Vernon AAA Midget Reps for three years, and he was also an assistant coach for Team Canada’s U20 ball hockey team in 2008 and 2010.

“I’m very excited about joining the Knights organization,” said Armstrong. “I’m looking forward to the challenge, transitioning from the minor hockey level to the junior hockey level.

“It’s something I’ve been working for and wanting for an awful long time. I’m excited about the chance and the opportunity. I’d also like to thank my bosses, Thomas Brandle and Sam Dhalla, for the opportunity to pursue my hockey passion.”

Armstrong has already announced two of his assistant coaches. Jeremy Weibe will look after the defence and Chris Kingdon will be the club’s goalie coach.

He still hopes to name a third assistant coach before the team starts its main training camp Aug. 13 at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.