Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Surrey Eagles Fire Coach Shane Kuss:



I haven't seen this posted anywhere else, so I thought I'd post it here from the Peace Arch News.

Kuss fired as Surrey Eagles' head coach

By Nick Greenizan - Peace Arch News

Shane Kuss has been fired as head coach of the Surrey Eagles, one day after the new ownership group – led by local businessman Chuck Westgard – officially took control of the franchise.

Assistant coach Matt Erhart was promoted to head coach.

When news broke in March that the team was to be sold, Westgard said the coaching staff would remain intact, but after "thinking about it and doing some research," decided to change direction and make the switch.

"It wasn't something we originally planned on doing, but we just figured that, with us coming in, now was a good time for a fresh start and to rebrand the team," Westgard said Tuesday afternoon.

"It's nothing personal, and the (team's past record) only had a little to do with it… we just wanted a new start."

Westgard said brief thought was given to hiring a new head coach who was new to the organization, but ultimately decided to go with Erhart.

"It's just a bit of a hunch, really," Westgard said of Erhart who, like Kuss, is a former Eagles player.

"He knows the players, knows the league… he's our guy going forward."

The Eagles were ousted in the first round of BC Hockey League playoffs last season, and in three seasons at the helm, Kuss failed to get the team past the second round.

Kuss is a former coach of the year in the junior B ranks with the Delta Ice Hawks, and is the BCHL's all-time leading scorer.

He was hired in 2007 – replacing Rick Hillier – by former owner Ronnie Paterson, who still acts as the team's governor. Paterson agreed with the decision to fire Kuss, Westgard said.

"Everybody agreed it was the right move. It was fine with everybody," Westgard said.

Former NHL defenceman Gary Nylund, a Peninsula resident who is part of the new ownership group, will act as an assistant coach with the team this fall.

"I think Matt and Gary will work really well together," Westgard said.

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