Kamloops Blazers hire Clouston as head coach, name Sydor associate

Shaun Clouston was named head coach of the Kamloops Blazers on Monday in a club press release.

Darryl Sydor will join him on the bench as an associate coach.

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Clouston spent the past 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, as an assistant coach or associate coach from 2003 to 2010 and head coach from 2010 to 2019. He was also the club’s general manager from 2013 to 2019.

“He brings with him a wealth of successful Western Hockey League experience, as well as international experience by representing Hockey Canada multiple times,” Blazers’ general manager Matt Bardsley said in the press release. “He has a great understanding of today’s players and is known for having his teams play with speed, structure and a high compete level that will be exciting for the outstanding group of players we will have for the upcoming season.”

The 51-year-old Viking, Alta., product is the winningest head coach in Tigers’ history, his 391 victories slotting him third among active WHL coaches.

Clouston won a WHL championship as an assistant coach in 2004 and as an associate coach in 2007. He guided Medicine Hat to the playoffs in eight of nine seasons as the team’s head coach. A loss to Edmonton in a post-season play-in tiebreaker game kept the Tigers out of the playoffs in 2016.

Under Clouston, the Tigers reached the Eastern Conference final in 2011 and 2014, were ousted four times in Round 2, in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017, and jettisoned in Round 1 the past two seasons.

The Tigers announced the two sides had “parted ways” in a concise press release on May 30.

Willie Desjardins was named Medicine Hat’s head coach and GM on May 31, retaking positions he held before pursuing work in the pro ranks.

The Blazers and head coach Serge Lajoie announced their parting of ways in April, ending a one-and-done tenure that finished in a Round 1 exit from the post-season.

Bardsley, hired last June, brought in Sydor as an assitant coach in February, a move that dovetailed with Kamloops’ incredible run to the post-season, which was completed with a victory over Kelowna in a tiebreaker game.

Sydor played in 1,291 NHL games and won Stanley Cups with Dallas in 1999 and Tampa Bay in 2004. He is part-owner of the Blazers.

“I am very honoured to have the opportunity to work alongside Shaun,” Sydor said. “I am excited to help create a culture I was once a part of during my playing days with this franchise. I believe Shaun and I will be able to help our players reach their goals.

“Kamloops is my family’s home and we are excited to continue to raise our family in this community.”

Defenceman Connor Clouston, Shaun’s son, was picked by the Blazers in Round 3 of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft and played parts of three seasons in Kamloops.

Shaun Clouston and the Tigers drafted Ryan Chyzowski in Round 1 of the 2015 bantam draft.

Chyzowski, a Kamloops product and the son of Dave Chyzowski, the Blazers’ director of sales and marketing, is entering his 20-year-old campaign in Medicine Hat.

Bardsley was a scout for the Portland Winterhawks when Shaun Clouston was an assistant coach for the U.S. Division club in 2001-2002.

Clouston, a forward during his playing days, became familiar with Kamloops when he toiled for the Winterhawks from 1985 to 1989, when a fierce rivalry developed with the Blazers.

Clouston and Sydor will be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Cory Clouston, Shaun's brother, is a former WHL and NHL head coach.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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