The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club announced Wednesday the hiring of Darcy Wakaluk as the team’s new Goaltending Coach and Bob Bartlett as the new Director of Player Development and Senior Scout. The team also announced that Assistant Coaches Mike Craig and Josh MacNevin will return for the 2016-2017 season.
Wakaluk joins the Hurricanes after spending the past 12 seasons as the Goaltending Coach of the Calgary Hitmen. Before his time with the Hitmen, Wakaluk also spent three seasons as the Goaltending Coach of the Kamloops Blazers and one season as an Assistant Coach with the Vancouver Giants.
Prior to his coaching career, the Pincher Creek, Alberta product played three season in the Western Hockey League from 1983 to 1986 with the Kelowna Wings/Spokane Chiefs franchise. A Buffalo Sabres seventh round draft pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Wakaluk went on to play 181 games in the American Hockey League and 191 games in the National Hockey League with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes. He was a member of the 1987 Calder Cup Champion Rochester Americans and was the first goaltender in AHL history to score a goal in 1987. He was also a teammate of Hurricanes assistant coach Mike Craig for three seasons with the Minnesota/Dallas franchise.
“We’re adding a real good person, any time you can add good people to your staff that’s first and foremost, along with that Darcy’s experience speaks for itself. Playing in our league, being an NHL player and he’s coached in that league for a number of years, it really, really fits for us,” said Hurricanes General Manager Peter Anholt.
Bartlett joins the Hurricanes after spending the past five seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Bartlett in no stranger to Lethbridge or the Hurricanes as he was an instrumental person in bringing the Hurricanes to Lethbridge after the Broncos were relocated to Swift Current in 1986. He spent 11 years (1974 to 1985) as a scout for the Broncos. After acting as an Advisor to the Hurricanes, he served as the team’s General Manager from 1990 to 1995 leading the team to the 1991 WHL Final and Division Title.
“Bob being the person that he is makes it such a great add for us. His history here in Lethbridge speaks for itself and his hockey history speaks for itself, it’s just a really good fit for us to add Bob to our staff, but also for [Bob] to be able to finish his hockey career with our organization is important too,” said Anholt.
After playing minor hockey in the Crowsnest Pass, Bartlett went on to play in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League before earning a scholarship with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the NCAA. His many honours include being inducted in the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, the 2007 Hockey Alberta Centennial Award, the 2009 Hockey Alberta Hockey Development Award, being inducted into the Hurricanes/Broncos Hall of Fame in 2012 and being inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
“It’s always exciting to join a hockey club and looking at what’s happening with the Hurricanes currently, the direction the club is going and the success it’s had, it was a really good time for me to have this opportunity,” said Bartlett. “I can’t say enough about how excited I am. I get excited about hockey, about good teams and good organizations and it’s great to be back with the Hurricanes. It’s certainly a return home.”
Meanwhile, Craig will enter his fourth season as the Hurricanes Assistant Coach after being hired prior to the 2013-2014 campaign while MacNevin will enter his second with the hockey club.
“I really like the continuity and I like the fact that they’re coming back. We’ve got a young staff, but now we’re adding some experience to that young staff,” said Anholt. “It’s great for Mike whos roll continues to grow with our organization and for Josh who’s a local product and having him involved with our club and what he brings is important.”
Season Tickets for the 2016-2017 season are now available by calling 403-329-SEAT (7328).