Smyl to match wits with O’Rourke

While Harvey Smyl works to assemble his coaching staff for the new Chilliwack Chiefs junior A franchise, the Langley Rivermen have replaced him behind their bench.

Ex-Abbotsford Heat assistant coach Steve O’Rourke will take the spot left open by Smyl’s departure.

“I am excited about building a team you can be proud of, a team with character, leadership, integrity, and above all, a huge amount of work ethic,” O’Rourke said at an introductory press conference on Friday. “I am excited about being part of this program going forward.”

O’Rourke, whose professional playing career involved seven seasons in Europe, the ECHL and the UHL, earned his masters in sport management after completing his bachelor of arts in kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. Prior to joining the Heat, he spent three years working as the head instructor at the Okanagan Hockey Academy, so coaching teenage boys is not something new.

“The pros were good to work with, but for the most part, it was refining those skills where here it is going to be teaching the game again,” he explained. “System-wise in Abbotsford, you only had to tell them once and they got it. Here it is going to have to be told several times, several different ways, and that is what I am excited about, the teaching part of it.”

O’Rourke will be joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Bobby Henderson, Roy Henderson’s eldest son, and Jordan Emmerson. Pasco Valana will serve as the team’s goaltending coach, while Wayne Hubbard will be the team’s trainer.