A key component of the Kelowna Rockets’ coaching staff for more than a decade, Kim Dillabaugh is moving on.
Dillabaugh has accepted a full-time role with the Los Angeles Kings, adding scouting to his duties as the NHL club’s overseer of goaltender development.
A native of Duncan, the 36-year-old Dillabaugh has served as the Rockets’ goaltending coach since 2003, and also played with the WHL club in the mid-1990s.
Dillabaugh, who has been working with the Kings’ on a part-time basis for the last eight seasons, said the importance of his time spent with the Rockets can’t be overstated.
“It’s a very exciting, but tough day,” said Dillabaugh. “I have been very fortunate to work for one of the premier franchises in the Canadian Hockey League for 11 seasons. Throughout my time here I have had the privilege of working for and with many tremendous people. My family and I would like to thank Bruce, the Hamilton family and the entire Kelowna Rockets organization. We have forged lifelong friendships and are proud to have been part of a first class organization and the Kelowna community.”
Dillabaugh played three WHL seasons as a goalie, including as a Rocket in both Tacoma and Kelowna. After retiring from playing he moved into coaching, joining the Rockets in 2003-04.
Rockets President/GM Bruce Hamilton said the development of the Rockets’ goaltenders under Dillabaugh has been a big part of the Rockets’ success.
“You don’t win without great goaltending and Kim has done a remarkable job for a lot of goalies that have played here,” said Hamilton. “I think this is an excellent situation. Kim has been with us for a long time and now he’s moving up and he has two Stanley Cups to his name. Certainly it’s going to be a loss, but we’re excited for his opportunity.”
Since 2006, Dillabaugh has been in charge of goaltender development for the LA Kings, a role that will expand this coming NHL season to include scouting and evaluating goaltenders in preparation for the NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency.
“I’m excited to be taking on an expanded role,” said Dillabaugh. “My experience with Los Angeles over the past eight seasons has been tremendous and now having the opportunity to work full time with one of the NHL’s top franchises is a great opportunity and a challenge.”
Dillabaugh is the second member of the Rockets coaching staff to move to a higher level after the earlier departure of head coach Ryan Huska. The search for a new goaltender coach is underway immediately.
“Our intention is to fill the position,” said Hamilton, adding that Dillabaugh will help the Rockets in the hiring process. “It’s going to be critical that the next person that comes in continues to follow the same plan that Kim has established here.”