Kevin Higo is out as head coach and GM for the Grande Prairie Storm. He was hired in May 2014 to turn the hockey club’s fortunes around, but Board President Murray Toews says they haven’t seen the results they’re looking for.
“When we changed out the board a year ago we made a commitment not only to the community but to the kids that we wanted to put the best possible product on the ice, so it’s nothing personal against Kevin from a board point of view. It’s hockey, and Kevin will be the first one to tell you every coach has a shelf life; it just got to be too much right now.”
The Storm have missed the playoffs for the past three years, and recently posted a 15 game winless streak. They currently sit in sixth place in the AJHL north division with 19 points in 34 games.
Replacing Higo is Matt Keillor, coach of the Midget AAA Storm. Keillor joined GPAC in August 2014, and was named the AAA coach less than a year after that. He says the Storm coach position is a dream for him.
“When I came up here and saw the facility, and I just saw the people and the town in general, you sit back and look and go, wow, there’s some amazing opportunities, especially for coaches. That’s one other things we want to do is promote coaches from within GPAC and it’s amazing that it’s happening and we want to continue doing that.”
He adds that his promotion is bitter sweet, as it comes at the expense of a fellow coach. Assistant coach Blake Cosgrove will take over in the interim.
A group of investors stepped in to save the Storm from major debt earlier this year, and Toews says they’ve been under a lot of pressure. Keillor will have until the end of the season to prove himself. He says making it to playoffs is the team’s number one goal.