Junior hockey: Kelowna Rockets add new assistant coach to staff

It may be the middle of summer, but the Kelowna Rockets are busy putting together the pieces for the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, the team announced that it added Josh MacNevin as part of Kris Mallette’s coaching staff.

MacNevin is replacing Vern Fiddler, who left the club to spend more time with his family in Texas.

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MacNevin spent the last six seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes as an assistant coach under former Kelowna head coach Peter Anholt.

Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton is extremely excited about adding an assistant coach with a solid resume.

“Obviously, he’s a guy that we were very interested in throughout the process here, with all the resumes and everything else we went through,” Hamilton told Global News.

Meanwhile, MacNevin said he’s excited to be in the Okanagan.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Rockets organization. With everything that they’ve accomplished, they’re one of the most storied franchises in the Western Hockey League,” he said.

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Before his coaching stint with Lethbridge, MacNevin served as an assistant coach for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s team during the 2013-14 season.

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A defenceman during his playing career, MacNevin was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the fourth round, 101 overall, in the 1996 NHL draft.

After turning pro, he went on to a playing career that spanned more than a decade, with stops in the American Hockey League, Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Finland.

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Hamilton points to Mallette’s comfortableness with MacNevin as a key factor in hiring him.

“I think, most importantly, Kris is very comfortable with him. And I feel that he will bring something coaching side that help and add to Kris’ resume, as well and benefit our players here first and foremost,” said Hamilton.

Mallette said “his playing experience overseas allows him to see the game differently. He was an offensive-minded defenceman and I think that will complement the vision that I’m trying to instil into our group, regardless of position.”

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