The Kootenay Ice have named Luke Pierce the seventh head coach in franchise history.
President and general manager Jeff Chynoweth made the announcement Tuesday morning.
“Luke is one of the bright young coaches coming through the system,” Chynoweth said in a team press release. “He has coached in Merritt, which is very similar to Cranbrook in terms of his teams achieving on-ice success despite the obstacles faced as a small-market team.
“In speaking with numerous people throughout the process there was one common theme: his teams come to play and work hard every night, while most importantly getting better as the season progresses. Patience and teaching will definitely be needed as we turn over the majority of our roster and ice one of the youngest teams in the WHL this year.”
Pierce, who signed a three-year contract with the Ice, had been the head coach and general manager of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials since November 2009.
He is set to replace Ryan McGill, who has agreed to mutually part with the team upon the expiration of his contract on June 30.
“This is a great opportunity for my family and I,” Pierce said in a team press release. “Kootenay has been one of the most successful WHL franchises for the past 17 years. I intend on keeping the strong culture and tradition going despite the expected roster turnover. Hard work gives you a chance to win and we definitely will be a team that competes each and every game.”
During his time in Merritt, Pierce coached the Centennials to a record of 168-111-21 in the regular season while qualifying for post-season play in all six campaigns.
Pierce, 31, was named BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the Year in 2012-13 and served as an assistant coach for Team Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.
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