Ryan Cuthbert resigns from Rockets staff

Former player cites personal reasons for stepping aside after five season as an assistant with the WHL club

Ryan Cuthbert has resigned from his position as assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets.

Ryan Cuthbert has resigned from his position as assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets.

Ryan Cuthbert is taking a step back from the game he’s been immersed in for much of his life.

The Kelowna Rockets this week announced the 30-year-old Swift Current, Sask. native has resigned from the WHL club’s coaching staff for personal reasons.

Cuthbert, who spent the last five seasons as an assistant to Rockets’ head man Ryan Huska, is ready for a change.

“This is a personal choice for me,” said Cuthbert. “I’m going to explore different opportunities. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, it’s like leaving family, but I weighed my options and decided it’s time to try new things.

I think of the Hamilton family and the Rockets as my family,” Cuthbert continued. “I want to thank them for the opportunity to work for what I believe is the best junior organization in Canada and for their continued support through this transition.”

Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton regrets his team will be losing a passionate and valuable asset, but fully supports Cuthbert’s decision.

“I think it was really a tough decision for him, but he just needed to step back and figure things out,” Hamilton said. “It certainly surprised all of us. I’m not so sure he’s done with the game altogether, but he needs to feel good about what he’s doing with his life.

“We plan to assist Ryan as he makes this transition from the game as he is a member of the Rockets family and always will be”

Cuthbert played five seasons in a Rockets uniform and remains one of the most popular players in club history. His hard-nosed, workmanlike style endeared him to fans and teammates alike. Cuthbert served as Kelowna’s captain the last two seasons of his WHL career, leading to the Rockets to a Memorial Cup berth in 2003.

Hamilton said Cuthbert’s contributions won’t be forgotten.

“When we started to have success as an organization, Ryan was instrumental in helping turn this thing around,” Hamilton said. “He brought leadership to this team, he learned that from the guys who came before him, then he passed it on to players like (Josh) Gorges and (Shea) Weber. A lot of our players will tell you how important Ryan was.”

Cuthbert played for the Rockets from the 1998-99 to the 2002-03 seasons, scoring 59 goals and 164 points in 319 games.

A series of injuries cut short Cuthbert’s minor-pro career as he retired from the game at just 23. He joined the Kelowna coaching staff on full-time basis for the start of the 2007-08 season.

Hamilton said the Rockets won’t fill the vacany left by Cuthbert. In 2012-13, head coach Ryan Huska will once again be assisted by Dan Lambert, Kim Dillabaugh and Kim Gellert.

 

Kelowna Capital News

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