Mike Vandekamp will be returning to Grande Prairie as the new Head Coach and General Manager of the Grande Prairie Storm. Vandekamp was behind the bench here in Grande Prairie from 2007-2011, which included an AJHL Championship victory in 2009.
He says the opportunity to sign a three-year deal in a place where he found success was something he couldn’t pass up.
“I feel comfortable with everything that’s there, and I’m excited about the opportunity,” he says. “With respect for the job that has been done prior to me coming in, there’s been a lot of hard work done by a lot of good people and have started to put a good program on the ice and we want to build from there.”
Coming off nearly a decade in British Columbia as Head Coach and GM for the Nanaimo Clippers from 2012-2017, and most recently the Cowichan Valley Capitals the last two seasons, Vandekamp says any coach walking into a new program is going to have to undertake a pretty big effort to get a quality on-ice product. He believes there is more depth right now in Junior A hockey than there ever has been, and players have a lot of areas to choose from as they look at their own career.
“It’s not the same game as it was a decade ago in that way, you have to work really hard to put a good program on the ice,” he says. “We need to look at the players, assess what we can as best as we can even though we’re not able to skate or get on the ice, and try to build around that and make sure we’ve got good recruiting going on.”
His first task will be getting a winning mentality moving throughout the organization and says he would like to build a team the entire community can be proud of.