Steve Gainey will be the Kamloops Storm’s head coach for the 2019-2020 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League campaign.
“He has a great head for the game and he’s got lots of passion,” said Matt Kolle, the junior B club’s general manager.
“We have a clearcut leader and someone who is going to take the bull by the horns.”
Gainey, an assistant coach for the Storm last season, said he was interested this summer in joining the major-junior Kamloops Blazers’ coaching staff, but is looking forward to being a head coach in the KIJHL.
“I’ve been an assistant coach with five teams,” said the 40-year-old Gainey, who enjoyed a lengthy pro hockey career after playing for the Blazers in the WHL.
“I really enjoyed my season with the team last year. I liked the coaching staff and it looks like that group is reuniting. I’m looking forward to spending time with them.”
Jassi Sangha handled head coaching duties last season, but a growing family and work commitments contributed to his decision to step back.
He moves into an assistant coaching role, along with Cody Lockwood and Andrew Fisher. Peter Friedel is the team’s trainer.
The Storm, who started 0-9 in 2018-2019, posted 19 victories in 49 games last season to finish fourth among five teams in the Doug Birks Division.
Revelstoke swept Kamloops 4-0 in Round 1 of the playoffs.
Gainey, the son of NHL Hall of Famer Bob Gainey, is involved in several local business ventures and wife Mikayla is pregnant with their third child.
“It seems like a good fit with the level of involvement right now,” Gainey said. “We came a long way last year and we have high expectations for this year.”