Ex-Vancouver Canuck Peter Shaefer is the main man with the Surrey Eagles, taking over for departing coach Matt Erhart.
Erhart, who led the BCHL team to the semi-finals of the Royal Bank Cup tournament in the spring, is leaving the team to join the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. Eagles team president Shaefer, an assistant coach with the 2012-13 squad, takes over as head coach and general manager.
“I learned a lot from Matt this past year, and we had a long and successful season,” he said. “Now, I’ll have to take that knowledge and apply it going forward. I’m looking forward to working with the returning veterans and the up-and-coming new recruits.”
Shaefer’s lengthy professional playing career included National Hockey League stops in Vancouver (twice), Boston and Ottawa. He retired in 2010-11 after a brief stint with Ingolstadt RC in the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Erhart has signed on as an assistant coach with the Giants, where he will work under the guidance of longtime bench boss Don Day.
During his three years as the Eagles head coach, Erhart compiled an impressive record of 106-50-6-14. In each year, the Eagles won a minimum of 35 regular season games and made it at least as far as the Conference finals.
Erhart was the 2011-12 winner of the Joe Tennant Memorial trophy as coach of the year.
The Delta native has a long-standing relationship with the Eagles.
As a player, he helped the 1998 team to a Royal Bank Cup championship.
“It’s a bittersweet day when you have to leave a program that you’ve been a part of as a player and a coach,” he said. “The Eagles gave me a great opportunity, and I’ll always be thankful for that. With the Giants, it’s a chance to further my coaching career, and I couldn’t pass it up.”