Former minor leaguer John Van Horlick feels fortunate to be the new coach of the North Okanagan Knights. (Photo Submitted)

Van Horlick seeks homegrown talent

New head coach of Junior B Knights

As a minor league defenceman, John Van Horlick made stops in American cities like Portland, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Springfield and Omaha.

As a coach, the 69-year-old rancher is more than happy being in a small Canadian town. He was last week announced by owner Dean Keller as the new head coach of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League North Okanagan Knights of Armstrong.

“I coached Major Midget in Nanaimo last year and while I was ranching in Penticton, I coached minor hockey off and on for years,” said Van Horlick. “I coached Midget in Princeton when my daughter, Kaci, was living there. Dallas (Keller) is GM and Jacob (Keller) is our trainer. They’re both great guys, as is Dean. I feel really lucky to be working for these guys. We’re looking to have a lot of fun.”

Van Horlick coached the Langley Lords of the B.C. Junior League in 1977-78 before guiding the Williams Lake Mustangs of the Peace Cariboo Junior League in 1986-87 and then the Western League New Westminster Bruins in 1987-88.

“I’ve known (Viper head coach Ferner) Mark forever and we’re going to work closely with the Vipers. I want to invite all the area Midgets to our training camp. We want to try and use as many local kids as possible. Feel free to call me (1-250-460-2277) and come to camp.”

Van Horlick spent years with the BCHL Victoria Cougars from 1967-69 before turning pro with the ECHL Charlotte Checkers. He spent seven years in the minors and got in two games with the WHA’s Toronto Toros.

“We won the BCHL title in 1967 with the final game in Penticton. We had pretty good goaltending with Ron Grahame and Ed Forslund (Vernon product).”

Van Horlick, who runs his ranch with son, Matt, 41, will rely on Matt for help coaching the Knights.

“Matt can still play the game and he’s going to give me a hand. He played four years in the Western League and then the minors.”

John has numerous relatives in the North Okanagan and is stoked to get involved. The Knights’ camp goes Aug. 17-19 at Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Knights open the 52nd KIJHL season Sept. 7 in Nelson versus the Leafs.

Related: Vernon Knights hire Van Horlick


@VernonNews
sports@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna fire under control

A fire broke out just above Bear Creek Provincial Park Monday

Kelowna Boat Show highlights abandoned boat program

The 24th annual Kelowna Boat Show hits shores April 27 and 28.

Kelowna’s Korczak, Canada en route to U18 quarter-finals

Kaedan Korczak and Team Canada play Latvia Thursday

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening now in the Okanagan

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

Kelowna pimp faces 4 year sentence

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

VIDEO: Okanagan fire victim Amy Hansen speaks out on the loss of her four pets

A gofundme page has been started for Hansen, with $1,140 raised of a $5000 goal to help her rebuild

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Okanagan history in pictures

Grand opening of downtown Vernon Safeway store from 1965

Okanagan firefighter steps up to challenge

Andrew Haak will be one of hundreds of firefighters taking part in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in Calgary on May 5

SPCA investigating hen cull at Shuswap egg farm

Egg farm regulator says they are confident cull at was done properly

Okanagan Rail Trail a popular place

Thousands pack North Okanagan section over long weekend

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Most Read