July 17, 2018 3:55 pm
Updated: July 17, 2018 7:15 pm

Calgary Hitmen announce Steve Hamilton as new head coach

WATCH: The Calgary Hitmen have named Steve Hamilton as their new head coach. Kevin Smith reports.

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The Calgary Hitmen have announced Steve Hamilton as the new head coach of the Western Hockey League franchise.

The Hitmen said in a release that the 44-year-old Hamilton has signed to a multi-year deal.

“My family and I are extremely excited about the move to Calgary,” Hamilton said in a statement.

Hamilton helped guide the Edmonton Oil Kings to three straight WHL final appearances as an associate coach. Edmonton won WHL championships in 2012 and 2014 and a Memorial Cup in 2014 over that span.

“Obviously my ties with the Oilers and the Oil Kings are well documented but it’s an exciting thing for us personally,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got family in Calgary and lots of connective pieces here to help with the transition.

“Certainly, from a coaching standpoint, I’m very excited. I look at that young roster for a team on the uptick and that was very attractive as well.”

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He spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Oil Kings before being fired in June after Edmonton missed the playoffs for a second straight season in 2017-18. He has also served as a head coach and assistant with Hockey Canada, working with the U17 and U18 teams.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oil Kings shakeup: GM Hansch moving on, head coach Hamilton let go

Hamilton replaces Dallas Ferguson, who resigned after one season behind Calgary’s bench due to family reasons.

“The Hitmen have a tremendous organization with a great tradition of developing players and building talented, dynamic teams,” Hamilton said.

“I look forward to working with the existing coaching staff and the group of players we have assembled.”

Hitmen GM said Hamilton stood out in a very competitive field.

“We had guys from Europe, guys in the NHL that recently got let go as assistant coaches, Quebec major league, Ontario league, Junior A, CIS coaches, so it really struck the whole gamut of hockey,” Jeff CHynoweth said.

“His two interviews he really knocked it out of the park. We were ecstatic to add him to our organization.”

The Hitmen’s head coach said Hamilton will start with a clean slate.

“Pre-season guys are going to be battling for spots and he really doesn’t know our team so there’s no set lineup right now,” Tristen Nielsen said.

Watch below: The Edmonton Oil Kings season won’t start for another couple of months, but already fans can expect to see some big changes this season. New head coach Brad Lauer, and new hockey operations president Kirt Hill joined Shaye Ganam to talk about their roles.

— With files from Kevin Smith, Global News

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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