Richmond B.C. - The Richmond Sockeyes have hired Aaron Wilbur as their new head coach. Reputed to be widely respected in hockey circles, the 31-year-old has an extensive resume in the game despite his relative youth. He spent two seasons as coach/general manager of the Castlegar Rebels in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and has also been an assistant coach in Penticton in the B.C. Hockey League and with the University of B.C. Thunderbirds. Last season he was the head coach of the Seafair Peewee A team. Wilbur is also an instructor with the Vancouver Hockey School and is president of The Coaches Site which provides coaching conferences.
“After an exhaustive interview process he emerged as a leader and someone we feel is going to be great for the program,” Sockeyes’ vice-president of hockey operations Ronnie Paterson said.
“When we looked at his resume and how extensive it was, and his networking, it was obvious to us he was a student of the game and passionate about it. His communication skills appear to be very strong, (beneficial) not only to developing players but people. That’s something we really want to make a commitment toward.”
Wilbur has the unenviable challenge of carrying on the Sockeyes’ winning tradition. Under the guidance of his immediate predecessor, Judd Lambert, the Sockeyes won 181 regular season games and lost only 37 in regulation and 16 in overtime. His playoff record was equally impressive: 42 wins, 12 regulation losses and five overtimes losses over five seasons.
Though Lambert stepped down following the conclusion of the 2011-12 season to spend more time with his young family, he hopes to stay involved in some capacity with the Pacific International Junior Hockey League team.
Of Lambert’s three coaching assistants last season, only Greg Harding is expected to return. Like Lambert, both Scott Nielsen and Colin Falk have opted to step aside as well.