Chiefs hire new hockey boss

The Chilliwack Chiefs have hired ex-Woodstock Slammer coach Jason Tatarnic to replace outgoing coach/general manager Harvey Smyl.

The Chilliwack Chiefs have found the man who will replace Harvey Smyl as the head coach and general.

His name is Jason Tatarnic.

Those who follow the national junior A scene closely may recognize that name. For eight years Tatarnic was the hockey boss with the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. During his tenure, the team won three Kent Cups as league champion. Tatarnic led the Slammers to the Royal Bank Cup during the 2011-12 season, finishing as runner-up to the juggernaut Penticton Vees.

He took last year off after the Slammers ownership changed hands.

“He has a vast network of contacts within junior hockey, and the university and collegiate system throughout the United States and Canada,” said team president Glen Ringdal. “Virtually every level of hockey in North America, really. He’s well equipped for the teaching function, and he has a high reputation for community involvement, which is vital.”

Ringdal started with 40 candidates to sift through, quickly whittling the list down to 12.

“We were looking for people with relevant coaching experience, and some proven record as a coach,” Ringdal noted. “We were also looking for some evidence that the candidate was a teacher capable of not only developing hockey players but also young men. After we got the list down to 12 the entire ownership group got involved and honed it down to the final three.”

The last candidates standing were interviewed Thursday morning — Tatarnic in person and the other two via Skype.

When Ringdal sat down one final time with the ownership group, he was confident he’d found the right guy.

“I asked them all what their team would look like, what words they’d use to describe the team,” Ringdal said. “I want high tempo. I want exciting. Defence is mandatory, and I’d rather we win 3-1 than 8-6. But I don’t want 2-0 games. I want tough, strong and disciplined hockey with enough excitement for the fans.”

Tatarnic’s vision is aligned.

“After they get across the red line I give my players the freedom to be creative and spontaneous,” he said. “I don’t want them to be robots. I want them to use their instincts. But from the blue line back they’ll be structured.”

The 41 year old father of three comes to Chilliwack with his wife and three children, ages nine, seven and five.

“The big thing will be getting the family situated, deciding what school they’ll go to and what part of the community we’ll live in,” he said. “For the little ones this isn’t a huge deal, but for our oldest, she’s made some friends and Woodstock is the only home she’s ever known. So the initial news has been a big shocking, but she’s already said she wants to get here before the summer starts and get signed up for some activities.”

Tatarnic was the only hire Thursday, leaving the Chiefs still searching for an assistant coach.

Ringdal said Tatarnic will lead the way, with input from himself and ownership.

“He’ll largely be responsible, and he has some very specific ideas on that, but we’ll consult,” Ringdal noted. “It’s extremely important that we know what that relationship will be. We need singularity of thought. It’s OK to have opposing viewpoints, but they both need to be coming from the same place with complementary capabilities.”

Read more about Tatarnic in next Wednesday’s Progress sports section.

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s oldest school, Central elementary, celebrates 90 years

Historic photos, scrap books, the school song all part of upcoming 90th celebration

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk strolls into Chilliwack next month

Photographers meet up to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Most Read