Welcome home, Don — Hay to be next head coach of Kamloops Blazers
UPDATE: Kamloops This Week sports reporter Marty Hastings spoke with Hay on Friday, May 2. Listen below:
Don Hay will be the head coach of the 2014-2015 Kamloops Blazers.
KTW learned on Thursday, May 1, that Hay will indeed take the reins, with the official announcement expected to be made on Friday, May 2.
“Blazers’ owner Tom Gaglardi contacted me last week and asked for permission to speak with Don,” said Giants’ majority owner Ron Toigo.
“I’m sure Don is looking forward to moving home and spending more time with his family and enjoying the time with his grandkids. He came here when we were a young franchise and helped develop an identity for the Giants and showed us how to win.
“He leaves with a Memorial Cup, WHL championship and five B.C. Division titles. I can’t say how much we appreciate what Don has done and what he has meant to the Vancouver Giants franchise.”
Hay, 60, was an assistant coach with Kamloops from 1986 to 1992 before he took over the head coaching position, which he held from 1992 to 1995.
He won three Memorial Cups in Kamloops — one as an assistant in 1992, when Tom Renney was in charge, and two as a head coach, in 1994 and 1995.
Hay’s first 144 wins as a head coach came in his stint behind the Blazers’ bench.
“I’d like to thank Ron Toigo and the ownership group of the Vancouver Giants for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach in Vancouver for 10 great years,” said Hay.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Vancouver and it’s hard to leave the team. I’d also like to thank everyone in the organization that helped us have success along the way — assistant coaches, trainers and, most importantly, the players. And, last but not least, I’d like to thank all the Vancouver fans for their support through the years.”
In his 10 seasons with the Giants, Hay coached the club to a 401-252-26-37 record. He guided the Giants to five straight B.C. Division titles (2006 to 2010) and to four appearances in the Western Conference final.
Hay and the Giants also won a Memorial Cup in 2007 and a WHL title in 2006.
Hay posted his 600th win as a WHL head coach when his Vancouver Giants thumped the hometown Kamloops Blazers 6-2 at Interior Savings Centre on Jan. 17.
He is in the last year of his contract with the Giants. Kamloops has reportedly struck a deal to acquire his rights.