“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Ferris Bueller uttered those memorable words in a memorable 1986 movie about his day off, but they’re just as applicable to Chilliwack Chiefs head coach and general manager Brian Maloney.
Consider that a couple months ago he was an assistant coach on a struggling BCHL team that had been bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
The Chilliwack Chiefs fired Jason Tatarnic and Maloney was put in charge of a team bound for the RBC Cup, which he then coached to a national championship.
Maloney took over everything from coaching to recruiting to ordering new gear (which he did early last week).
He did it all with no guarantees he’d actually be retained in the role, but late last week he finally put pen to paper, signing a contract that makes him the official hockey boss of the Chiefs.
Life does move pretty fast.
“I’ve just been too darn busy to stop and think about it too much,” Maloney laughed. “A lot of things have happened fairly quickly.
“I took a moment the other day to realize where I’m at now and I couldn’t be happier to be coaching a team I once played for.
“I’ve always had a giant soft spot for the Chiefs and there’s no other place I’d rather be.”
If Maloney’s life has been a whirlwind of late, consider the man who will work alongside him as associate head coach/GM.
Everyone who follows the BCHL was surprised when the Trail Smoke Eaters fired Cam Keith in early April, after he’d led his team to second round upset of the Penticton Vees and a third round playoff appearance.
Unexpectedly unemployed, Keith joined the Chiefs coaching staff just before the RBC Cup and helped Chilliwack pull off one of the more unlikely championships in recent history.
Maloney crossed paths with Keith all the way up the hockey ladder.
During their playing days, the two men were junior, NCAA and minor-pro foes who grew to respect each other.
As coaches, Maloney believes they see the game the same way and will work well together.
“I’m going to lean on Cam quite a bit and give him tons of responsibilities, probably more than most assistant coaches, because he not only deserves it but he’s shown he can handle it,” Maloney said. “Cam is a great guy, which leads into great recruiting, and when he’s talking to kids and families, he’s up-front and honest and the type of person these parents and kids want to hear.
“He laid a foundation in Trail, and we’ve already got some calls from players who want to go where Cam is going.”
Another coach who parachuted in just before the RBC Cup is sticking around.
Aldergrove native Brad Rihela is going to help with recruiting.
“He worked formerly with the Yale Hockey Academy and we will be utilizing him in recruiting,” Maloney said. “He’s a guy who connects well with players and families and he’s been coaching in that bantam age group that we want to start getting our hooks into more.
While Maloney is still finalizing his staff, he has it in mind that less is more.
He doesn’t want too many ‘cooks in the kitchen’ in the locker room.
He and Keith will be the voices.
“My personal opinion is over the last few years it’s been too confusing for the players,” Maloney said. “I’d like us to have a little more structure in place as far as our locker room goes.”
The Chiefs have also brought on a new trainer, one with a fascinating hockey resume.
Brian Patafie is definitely worth Googling.
He has worked on National Hockey League benches in Calgary and Montreal and wrote a book about his hockey experiences titled ‘Ice it Down: A Look at Pro Hockey Through a Trainer’s Eyes.’
Patafie helped the Chiefs at the 2016-17 Western Canada Cup and Maloney is happy to have him on board full time.
“He has an amazing amount of experience and you talk about about professionalism, he has it all,” Maloney said. “He is over-the-top organized and having a guy like him around a younger coaching staff is going to be a very good thing.
“He’s certainly got a few stories.”
Chilliwack’s training camp will start Aug. 20 at Prospera Centre.