O’Hara takes over from Kehler behind SilverBack bench

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks moved assistant coach Colin O’Hara to head coach/GM, signing him to a three-year contract after former bench boss Tim Kehler resigned last week.

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks will be working with their third coach in as many seasons when they begin the 2011-12 B.C. Hockey League season this fall.

The ‘Backs  moved assistant coach Colin O’Hara to head coach/GM, signing him to a three-year contract after former bench boss Tim Kehler resigned last week.

Kehler took over from Matt Hughes, who was let go after one season, and piloted the SilverBacks to a 38-19-2-1. They fell 4-2 to the Vernon Vipers in the Interior Conference final in March.

O’Hara, 34, was head coach/GM of the SJHL Nipawin Hawks for two seasons before coming to Salmon Arm. He was an assistant with the Vipers in 2007-08 and worked with the Quesnel Millionaires before that.

“I am excited to continue to work with a program as strong as the one here in Salmon Arm. I would like to thank Randy and Terry Williams for this opportunity and look forward to continue the strong working relationship that was established last season,” said O’Hara, on the team website.

Said owner Randy Williams: “We are looking forward to having Colin re-joining our organization. While he was with our organization last season, we developed a strong relationship. His experiences as a player and coach will assist in the development of our organization and his coaching resume will undoubtedly make us a stronger program.”

Meanwhile, Travis St. Denis’s tenure with the Cowichan Valley Capitals proved to be a short one.

First-year Cowichan head coach Jim Ingram, who coached St. Denis the three previous seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters, dealt the Kootenay sniper to the Penticton Vees in exchange for 1993-born forward Steven Iacobellis and ‘91 forward Brandon Tanev.

The Vees earlier acquired the rights to Tanev, the younger brother of Vancouver Canuck d-man Chris Tanev, from the OJHL Markham Waxers in exchange for ‘92 forward Mike Betz.

St. Denis, the younger brother of former Viper and Kelowna Rocket, Kyle St. Denis, racked up 27 goals and 27 assists for 54 points in 42 games with Trail last season. The speedy 18-year-old added 77 penalty minutes.

“Travis proved to be a big time player last year, scoring 31 points in 28 games played against the top four teams in the Interior Conference,” said Vees’ head coach/GM Fred Harbinson. “It is always difficult when you trade players but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Travis in our uniform.”

Iacobellis played 47 games with the Vees last season, recording seven goals and eight assists. He is committed to the NCAA Division 1 Nebraska – Omaha Mavericks for the 2012-13 season.