Travis Crickard is the newest member of the Kelowna Rockets’ coaching staff.
The WHL club this week hired the 26-year-old native of St. John’s as an assistant/goalie coach for the 2014-15 season.
Crickard fills the vacancy left by Kim Dillabaugh who resigned this summer to take on a full-time position with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Crickard was an assistant/goalie coach for the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League last season and also spent two years as the head coach of the Ottawa 67’s midget AAA hockey team after his playing career was over.
“We were looking for someone who was willing to take on the goaltending duties but who could also do other coaching duties for us as well and Travis fit the bill,” said Rockets;’ head coach Dan Lambert. “I’m very excited to add Travis to our staff. He’s a young guy and he’s very open-minded.”
Outgoing Rockets assistant coach Kim Dillabaugh was instrumental in the hiring process and Lambert said the club is happy to be able to add Crickard to the staff.
“Travis and Kim had some long conversations about goaltending and the position and how it’s evolved over the last five or 10 years,” said Lambert. “Things have really changed and I think Kim was really happy with what he heard from Travis.”
The Rockets will begin the season with a new look behind the bench. Lambert has replaced outgoing head coach Ryan Huska (Aridondack Flames) while alumni Kris Mallette was hired as an assistant earlier this summer and will be on the bench with Lambert.
Crickard’s other duties will include video coach and he says he’s excited for the opportunity.
“It’s definitely an exciting challenge that I’m really looking forward,” said Crickard. “I’m honoured to be part of such a world class organization. In speaking with Dan I feel like we will have a great working relationship. We share a lot of the same ideas and he seems open to the ideas that I bring to the table.”
The Rockets training camp gets underway with its rookie camp beginning Aug. 20. Kelowna plays its first WHL exhibition game of the season Aug. 30 vs. Kamloops at Prospera Place before hosting the Blazers Sept. 20 in the team’s season-opener.