Ryan Huska has taken the next step of his coaching career.
The Cranbrook native, who has spent the last 12 years with the Kelowna Rockets, was named head coach of the AHL's Adirondack Flames on Monday.
"I feel like it's a great opportunity for myself and my family and a chance to work with Brad Treliving, Brad Pascall, Craig Conroy and the rest of the management group there," said Huska, in an interview with NHL.com. "It's a thrill for me and I'm super excited for a chance to spend some time with and learn from Bob Hartley and his coaching staff."
Huska has had a decorated career as a player and coach; he has three Memorial Cup rings (1992, 1994 and 1995) during his major-junior career with the Kamloops Blazers. As an assistant coach, he won the Memorial Cup in 2004 and was with the team when they went to the same tournament in 2003 and 2005. Leading as head coach in 2009, the Rockets won the WHL championship, but were defeated in the Memorial Cup final.
After joining Kelowna as an assistant coach in 2002, Huska was promoted to run the bench in 2007. In seven years as head coach, his teams have not finished below 0.500 and he set a franchise record with 57 wins last year.
"I'm thrilled for him and I think this is long overdue," said Rockets President/GM Bruce Hamilton. "This is an opportunity Ryan has deserved for many years. He's done a wonderful job for us and we will be his biggest fans."
Huska has also worked on the international stage as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, capturing a silver in 2011 and a bronze in 2012.
Though born in Cranbrook, Huska was raised in Trail in the West Kootenay.