Bruce Hamilton is the longest serving chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Rockets’ Hamilton back as WHL chairman

Kelowna GM elected to another 2-year term this week at league meetings in Vancouver

Bruce Hamilton is back for another term as Chairman of the WHL’s Board of Governors.

At the league’s AGM this week in Vancouver, the Kelowna Rockets president and GM was elected for another two years.

The longest serving chairman in WHL history, Hamilton has filled the role since 2008. He previously served as Chairman of the WHL Board of Governors from 1998 to 2004.

Among the other highlights from this week’s meetings:

2020 Memorial Cup bids confirmed

The Rockets are one of four WHL clubs which will vie for the right to host the Memorial Cup national championship when it returns to Western Canada in May 2020. Also confirming their intent to bid are the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Victoria Royals.

On April 19, the Kelowna Rockets announced their initial plans to land the hosting rights for the 102nd Memorial Cup. Kelowna previously hosted the 2004 Memorial Cup, winning on home ice at Prospera Place. Including 2004’s host duties, the Rockets have made five appearances in the Memorial Cup (2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2015).

Kelowna and Prospera Place—home of the Rockets—have hosted a number of prestigious, world-class events, including the IIHF World Junior Championship, Canadian men’s Olympic orientation camp, the 2009 CHL Canada Russia Series, as well as the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The host site will be selected in October by an independent panel.

WHL player safety seven-point plan

The WHL took further measures to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety – Seven-Point Plan, Kevin Acheson has been appointed WHL Director, Player Safety. In this new role, Acheson will be responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games.

Acheson, a native of Edmonton, Alta., and a former WHL Referee, previously held the role of WHL Assistant Director, Officiating.

Kowal Appointed WHL Officiating Development Coach

The WHL has appointed former NHL Referee Tom Kowal to the position of WHL Officiating Development Coach.

A native of Vernon, Kowal began his officiating career in the WHL in 1988 before spending 20 seasons as a referee in the NHL. Kowal retired as an NHL referee at the end of the 2017-18 season.

In his new position, Kowal will be responsible for developing a coaching plan for WHL Officials, providing game and video supervision of WHL Officials, as well as developing video training materials to provide professional development opportunities for WHL Officials.

WHL Leadership Conference

WHL GMs, coaches and officials will participate in a WHL Leadership Conference this August. The WHL Leadership Conference will be held Aug. 8 to 10 in Edmonton, Alta., in conjunction with the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

The WHL Leadership Conference will participants with a professional development opportunity featuring NHL GMs and head coaches, along with leading instructors at the international level.

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