Knoblauch joins Kimberley Dynamiters

Former Kootenay Ice head coach Kris Knoblauch has joined the Kimberley Dynamiters as an assistant coach. Nitros camp kicks off August 31.

The Kimberley Dynamiters have announced an exciting new addition to their roster, and no, it isn’t a new forward or goalie.

Kris Knoblauch, former head coach of the Kootenay Ice, has been named a new assistant coach to the Dynamiters organization.

“The Dynamiters are an excellent team,” Knoblauch told the Townsman.

Roman Vopat, head coach and general manager of the Dynamiters, said Knoblauch will bring a wealth of experience to the new position.

“Overall he’s a huge improvement to our coaching staff and our organization,” he said.

Knoblauch said he’s excited to work with Vopat and his fellow assistant coaches Jordan Foreman and Todd White in any way he is needed.

“I think it will be a great opportunity for me to work with Roman,” he said.

Vopat said Knoblauch contacted him and expressed an interest in helping out the Dynamiters and remaining in the area to pursue hockey.

“I jumped to the opportunity,” Vopat said. “I think it’s fantastic. I just appreciate that offer from him.”

Knoblauch and his wife have settled in Cranbrook, and he said staying in the area was the right thing to do.

“Cranbrook’s our home for now,” he said. “I have certainly enjoyed the hockey.”

With Dynamiters camp set to begin August 31, Vopat said Knoblauch will be a huge help as they select their team for the 2012/13 season. The camp runs until September 2.

“He would help us on the special teams,” Vopat said.

Knoblauch said he’s happy to fill in where needed, whether that is with special teams or otherwise.

“I’m just there to help however I can.”

Knoblauch is looking forward to getting back out on the Civic Centre ice to coach the incoming talent. He said he enjoys watching players move up in their own careers.

“I enjoy working with young adults,” he said. “Hockey’s my passion.”

The veteran coach could even attract more great players to Kimberley than ever before, Vopat added, however Knobluach said having a great coaching staff like that of the Nitros will attract players on its own.

With the addition of such an experienced coach, Vopat said he’s looking forward to learning from Knoblauch as he begins his second year as head coach of the Dynamiters.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me to become a better coach,” he said.

Knoblauch began his WHL career in 1995 as a player for the Red Deer Rebels, moving on to the Edmonton Ice, Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes. He then played for five seasons at the University of Alberta. In his last year as a player he was part of the CHL’s Austin Ice Bats.

Starting as an assistant coach for the Prince Alberta Raiders, Knoblauch began his coaching career in 2006. He was the assistant coach of the Kootenay Ice for two seasons before ascending to the head coach position for two seasons. During his tenure with the Ice, the team earned the WHL championship.

He was released from the Ice staff in May and no reasons were provided at that time by Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth.