The Grande Prairie Storm have again split up their head coach and GM positions. Matt Keillor has signed a two year contract with an option for a third as head coach, while head scout and associate GM Mark Bomersback has been promoted to GM.
Board member Mel Vollman says they didn’t feel either had enough experience to take on both roles. He adds that the local knowledge of Dennis Rix helps complete the team.
“And he has the business manager part of it too which connects the dots to the coach. The second part is having Matt here, and when you put it all together with Mark, we thought we were stronger by committee than we were by individuals.”
Keillor was brought in as interim head coach and GM in mid-December to replace Kevin Higo and Bomersback soon followed. The two have an extensive history together, and Keillor says the two of them are on the same page when it comes to the type of players they want to see.
“I trust his opinions and I trust himself as a person, how he can identify the good characteristics and the good character in players, so it’s definitely a big part of what we’re doing moving forward and that’s why having him as the general manager I think is a great fit.”
Keillor believes the two have already put in some of the ground work needed to get the team into a top tier position, and are building an identity. Vollman says the team overall has high hopes for next season.
“We’ve kind of set ourselves for a target to be in the three or four position [in the division] at the very minimum; that means we’ve got to be in the 36 to 40 wins, which is a drastic improvement. A lot of people say, ‘well, that’s too big a bite,’ but the reality is we believe we can do it with the staff we’ve got.”
The Storm finished seventh out of eight teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League North division, making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. They were swept by the Whitecourt Wolverines in the first round.
“We would love to bring a championship back to GP within two years,” says Keillor.