When the Summerland Steam take to the ice for the upcoming Junior B hockey season, there will be some changes — and not just among the players on the ice.
Mike Rigby, the former general manager of the hockey team, will no longer be with the Steam.
His contract came to an end in late April and a mutual decision was made not to renew him for the next season.
“Mike has been an integral part of our organization for a very long time, and we’re sad to see him depart,” said team president Sean Paxman. “We’re happy to have had Mike here for as long as we have in multiple roles, and the last three seasons as our general manager.”
Steve Hogg will take over as the team’s general manager.
Behind the player bench, John DePourcq, the long-time coach of the Junior B team, has left the team and Ken Karpuk will be the new head coach.
Karpuk said he wants to focus on the competitive nature of junior hockey.
“I’m all about competition,” he said. “If we’re ready to compete every night, we have a chance to win every day.”
Karpuk expects to have at least 10 and as many as 13 returning players for the next hockey season.
“We expect leadership from the guys who are returning,” he said.
The team’s training camp will be held in Summerland on Aug. 24 and 25, giving the new and returning players just two days to make a positive impression.
The Junior B team was founded in 2011 and has advanced to the playoffs every year from 2012-2013 forward.
Earlier this year, the team finished second in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference: Okanagan Division in regular season play.
In the division semifinals, Summerland defeated the third-place Princeton Posse in five games. In the division finals, the Steam lost to the Kelowna Chiefs in five games.
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