Chiefs hockey boss inks extension

Jason Tatarnic will be in Chilliwack at least through the 2018-19 season after signing a three year deal with options.

Two straight appearances in the BCHL’s final three have earned Chilliwack Chiefs head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic a contract extension.

Chiefs president Glen Ringdal announced the new deal Monday afternoon, tearing up the last year of Tatarnic’s old contract and replacing it with a new five year pact.

“The new agreement reflects the great appreciation that we have for the terrific job Jason’s done the last two years,” Ringdal said.

Ringdal said Tatarnic was largely an unknown when the team hired him after the 2013-14 season to replace longtime boss Harvey Smyl.

A highly recommended unknown.

But an unknown.

“He came with great recommendations and credentials and he’s lived up to them, and then some,” Ringdal said. “He’s proven to be exactly the type of coach we want in Chilliwack, and the results he’s achieved with back-to-back Mainland division championships tells me we’re on the right track with Jason and his hockey department.”

Tatarnic’s team went 37-17-3-1 in 2014-15, earning him the Joe Tennant Memorial Award as the BCHL’s coach of the year.

His crew went 38-13-4-3 this season and find themselves battling for a spot in the BCHL final.

The extension is technically three years, running through to the end of the 2018-19 season.

The final two years are options that Tatarnic can choose to pick up, potentially keeping him in Chilliwack through 2020-21.

“These types of options are unusual in these types of contracts,” Ringdal noted. “But we think the way things are going, there’s no doubt he’s the guy for us.”

“It was a pretty easy decision to make because the entire Chiefs organization has treated myself and my family first class,” Tatarnic said. “They have a great mind-set in how they want to achieve things.”

“They think of the player and the development and that ties into what I think — if you develop good people you’ll develop good hockey players. So my family and I are happy to make Chilliwack our home for the next five years and maybe some more.”

It seems only a matter of time before associate coach Kyle Adams gets a new deal.

Adams has been Tatarnic’s right-hand man in Chilliwack, and before that with the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Hockey League. Unless he gets the opportunity to run his own team, it would be strange to see the two men not working together.

“I’ve been with Kyle for a long time so I’ll give him the option and it’ll be up to him,” said Tatarnic, who’s given autonomy by Ringdal to manage his coaching staff. “I’m pretty comfortable working with him.”

With Tatarnic locked in to a reasonably long term, the hockey ops department should benefit.

Stability is a key concern for recruits.

“Even Austin Chorney, who we just signed, one of their questions was how long was I going to be here,” Tatarnic said. “They’re making decisions based on if I’m going to be here or not.”

“From my own personal point of view, you want to work in a place where you’re happy and comfortable and everyone’s going down the same road.”

“That’s when it’s fun.”