Cranbrook Bucks head coach and general manager Ryan Donald breaks out the whiteboard during a stoppage in play in a game against the Trail Smoke Eaters earlier this year. Trevor Crawley photo.

Cranbrook Bucks head coach and general manager Ryan Donald breaks out the whiteboard during a stoppage in play in a game against the Trail Smoke Eaters earlier this year. Trevor Crawley photo.

Cranbrook Bucks extend head coach/GM Ryan Donald for six years

The Cranbrook Bucks have announced Ryan Donald, the club’s head coach and general manager, has signed a six year extension.

“We are very excited to get this extension done with Ryan,” said Nathan Lieuwen, president of the Cranbrook Bucks. “From day one he has led our hockey operations with integrity and professionalism and his values and ideals have always been in line with our ownership.”

Donald has served in the role for the last two seasons, joining the BCHL expansion club right before a uniquely abridged season stemming from COVID-19 pandemic.

Hailing from St. Albert, AB, Donald played in the AJHL before committing to Yale University, where he suited up for four years, later joining the hockey program for five years as an assistant coach before coming to Cranbrook.

“My family and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity that we have had here in Cranbrook, and we are excited to build upon the foundation that has been laid over the past two seasons,” said Donald. “In particular we recognize how fortunate we are to live in an amazing community and work alongside people that share our values and beliefs, both on the ice and off of it.”

Since joining the Bucks in 2020, the team has an all-time record of 39-41-7.

This season, the club is off to a hot start with a 7-5-1 record, tied with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for fourth place in the BCHL’s Interior Conference.

“I would like to thank Nathan and Breanne Lieuwen for their unwavering trust and support in building our hockey team through extremely challenging circumstances and look forward to taking our team to new heights in the future,” said Donald.

Aside from on-ice results, the team is also starting to funnel players into the NCAA pipeline and draw the attention of NHL teams. A number of current roster players have committed to college hockey programs, while last year’s rookie phenom Tyson Dyck has already joined the NCAA ranks after being drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the summer.