North Okanagan Knights to name new head coach

Perrier leaves Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team

Bryant Perrier.

Bryant Perrier.

The North Okanagan Knights of Armstrong will have a new head coach by Wednesday morning.

After three years, the Knights and Bryant Perrier have parted ways. Perrier (GM/Head Coach) joined the Knights before the 2014-15 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.

With limited time to put a team on the ice, he guided the Knights to a first-round playoff berth. (The previous year they went 6W-41L-1T-4OTL) The Knights continued their success the following year with a first-round playoff matchup with the Osoyoos Coyotes and fell short.

In the last year of his contract, the Knights failed to make the playoffs finishing last in a competitive division but compiled 35 points which would land them comfortably in a second or third seed in other divisions.

“We just couldn’t get ends to meet,” said Knights’ owner Dean Keller. “It’s not the National Hockey League so there’s not a lot of cash to go around.”

Perrier and dedicated support staff rebuilt the hockey club under new ownership from the ground up and along the way developed young coaching staff as well as players who currently are playing in the BCHL, AJHL, MJHL, and college-level Hockey.

“The mandate I wanted to be put in place is there now because of Bryant,” said Keller. “Our role is to develop players and he did it 100 per cent. We thank him for his countless hours of hard work and commitment to the hockey club over these past three years. Due to Bryant’s countless hours of dedication, passion and hard work, he made North Okanagan a desirable place to play, and without him, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today.”

Keller said he expected to announce a new head coach by Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Vernon Vipers will open the 2018-19 B.C. Hockey League season at home Friday, Sept. 7 against the defending champion Wenatchee Wild.

The Vipers, who lost to the Wild in six games, in second-round playoff action, visit the Merritt Centennials the next night before hosting the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday, Sept. 14.

Vernon’s busiest month — in a 56-game schedule — will be November when they play 11 games, while their shortest stretch is six tilts in September.

The Vipers will play three Sunday matinee (2 p.m.) games with the Victoria Grizzlies here Nov. 17, the Powell River Kings in town Jan. 13 and the Langley Rivermen in Vernon Feb. 17.

There are 476 league games scheduled but 17 more will be added once the annual Bauer Showcase matchups are revealed. The Showcase goes Sept. 20-22 in Chilliwack with each of the 17 teams playing twice in front of hundreds of scouts.

Dates for exhibition games will also be added to the schedule later and will be finalized when teams’ main training camps get underway in late August.

All regular-season and playoff games will once again be carried on the BCHL’s HockeyTV pay-per-view site.

Fans can also follow games on their mobile devices by getting the HockeyTV app by HockeyTech Inc. in the app store.

The 2019 Royal Bank Cup is May 11-19, in Brooks, Alta.