Off the glass Fernie Ghostriders

The Ghostriders are in desperate need of game day help. Their biggest need now is for an announcer and a music player.  If you can help call coach Verner 423-0619 or email

The Coaching Merry-Go-Round. There have been several coaching changes around the leagues this summer, and some of them were actually interesting. In Creston defensive wizard Joe Martin signed up for two more years then promptly quit and moved to up Merritt as an assistant coach/GM with his old buddy Luke Pierce. But it was an amicable divorce and both sides split the furniture up evenly, without a chainsaw. Creston then hired Brent Heaven as their new coach. Heaven is a former Castlegar coach but his 99-51-2-10 record wasn’t good enough for the Rebels. Meanwhile in Invermere Rob Rice was not re-signed but it wasn’t a happy split (they used a chainsaw) there was some great mudslinging and blindside chopping at the knees in the Columbia Valley Pioneer newspaper. The winner appears to be Fernie as Rice’s son RT is in the Rider camp. Invermere hired former Calgary Royals AAA Midget coach Marc Ward. Steve Konowalchuk is now in Seattle with the Thunderbirds. The 16 year NHL veteran quickly jumped from Fernie a couple of years ago to the NHL with Colorado then on to the WHL.  Former NHL enforcer Tim Hunter has landed in Penticton at the OHS academy. Last year he coached in Toronto, so he went from one of the worst NHL teams to one of the worst KIJHL teams. At least he’s consistent. Hunter spent over 30 years playing and coaching in the NHL and will definitely have something to teach those players. The Ghostriders are currently holding out for Sidney Crosby.

And finally, Mike Vandekamp (Ghostriders 1996-97) moved from Grande Prairie (AJHL) to the BCHL Nanaimo Clippers last summer after the Clippers unceremoniously punted eleven year coach/GM Bill Bestwick.  Lots of hatred in the newspapers after that and maybe even more to come with the science experiment Vandekamp is conducting with the Clippers. Mike has traded his small skilled players for much larger versions and in the newspaper he says he wants his players to have a “rip your head off” attitude. Last year Fernie had 1646 penalty minutes, Vandekamp’s 97 Riders had 3374 PIM, and were second only to Cranbrook with 3542, old time hockey, from an old time coach.

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