Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coaching Change in Salmon Arm

Earlier today I learned that Rylan Fester resigned from his roles with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Although that might not be news that directly affects the Spruce Kings, Rylan has left a lasting impression on me from his passion for the game.

While traveling to the many rinks around the BCHL to provide the call of the game, I had many opportunities to speak with and interview Rylan. He would always accomodate me with my requests and provide candid and informative answers no matter the question.

On a few occassions, while in the unique sitation that is the broadcast location in Salmon Arm, Rylan would sit beside me in the press box. It was interesting to witness a general manager of one team react the same way for a good play or bad play from either side of the ice.

Rylan Ferster is a true fan of the game and I don't see him being very far from the rink. He is a big promoter of the players and wants nothing less than the absolute most that a player is willing to achieve and work for himself.

I hope I have more opportunities to cross paths with Rylan Ferster. What follows is the press release from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Good luck and all the best to you Rylan.

Salmon Arm SilverBacks owner Randy Williams has announced a leadership change in the team’s Hockey Operations department following the resignation of Head Coach and General Manager Rylan Ferster on Wednesday. Rylan will remain with the club until the end of June and assist in the transition process of hiring a new coach.

Ferster re-joined the SilverBacks organization in October of 2007 and spent two seasons as Head Coach and three as General Manager. The club finished with a record of 92-56-7-7 over that span, including a fourth-place finish in the Interior Conference during the 2009/10 season.

Ferster was also a member of the coaching staff for the club’s first three seasons where he led the 2003-2004 team to the League Finals. That same year, Salmon Arm finished 1st overall in the BCHL with 42 wins. 2008-2009 was another successful year as Ferster coached the roster to 40 wins and onto the Interior Finals versus the rival Vernon Vipers.

In addition, Rylan has represented the SilverBacks on an international level the past two years with Team Canada West at the World Junior "A" Championships. During his first appearance at the tournament, Ferster was an Assistant Coach. Last year, Team Canada appointed Ferster as the Head Coach. Each roster skated to silver medals.

"On behalf of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks Hockey Club, I would like to thank Rylan for his contributions to our organization over the past three years," says Williams. "He and I have worked very closely since his hiring and I’m fully supportive of him moving on to an opportunity that I feel is in the best interests of Rylan and his family."

"I’ve always believed that helping players and staff reach their personal goals is the hallmark of a great organization. We’ll now move forward by filling the vacancy left by Rylan and working harder than ever to build the Championship team that SilverBacks fans and the community of Salmon Arm deserve."

Ferster plans to remain in junior hockey and expects details of his new position to be announced shortly.

"It was a difficult decision to leave the SilverBacks after three very enjoyable seasons," says Ferster. "First, I would like to thank owners Randy and Terry Williams for giving me the opportunity to return to Salmon Arm and be a part of the SilverBacks organization. I’ve had an excellent working relationship with Randy, the team’s staff and the hockey fans of Salmon Arm. I leave knowing that the club will continue to be one of the top organizations in Junior A hockey for years to come."

"Secondly, I would like to recognize some people that I have had the pleasure of working with over the past six years. My friendship with Shawn Rogers, the team’s Director of Marketing, made it an easy decision to return to the SilverBacks for a second time. It goes without saying that I need to thank trainer Jamie Walters for the dedication and time that he has committed to the organization."

"I also want to recognize both Mickey and Heather Sims for their friendship during our time together with the team and my friend Myron Crown for being our home game announcer and a personal mentor. I cannot thank team Chaplin Dave Penner enough for all his guidance and wisdom he offers to our players. Thanks to Jill Bingham as the billet coordinator and to Ken Wood, who has been the club’s educational coordinator. Jill and Ken have been involved since the team’s inaugural season. And thank you to Gerry Hay for organizing all the game night officials every time we played at home. And of course Ron Flockhart for being such a great role model while helping the players improve their game during practice".

"I would also like to offer huge thanks to every billet family for opening up your homes and allowing our players to be a part of your day-to-day lives. Thanks for the countless hours from all of the volunteers who allow us to open the doors on game night. Thanks to Roy Sakaki and Salmon Arm Minor Hockey plus Dale Berger and the Sunwave Centre staff for being so supportive and a part of our hockey family. We would not be able to operate without the financial contribution from all of our corporate sponsors, many of whom I know firsthand. And last but not least, thank you to the players. The commitment you put forth being a SilverBack and a member of our community is unparalleled."

"Salmon Arm has become home and my family and I will continue to live here. My wife owns a business in this community and it’s where we want to raise our daughters."

Meanwhile, Williams says that the search for a new Head Coach will begin immediately.

"I’m committed to selecting a candidate who will meet our high standards on the ice while continuing to make the SilverBacks an excellent stepping stone for student athletes on their path to university hockey and the NHL."

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