The Coquitlam Express is filling out its bench staff.
Less than a week after the BC Hockey League team hired rookie head coach Brandon Shaw, its added Jeff Wagner as associate coach and the director of scouting, as well as new athletic therapist Gaelle Bergeron.
Wagner was the head coach and general manager of the Fernie Ghostriders in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a Junior B loop. In his three full years there, he led the team to 74 wins, six ties and 54 losses. He was named the league’s coach of the year in the 2018/’19 season.
Express general manager Tali Campbell said Wagner is ready to step up to the Junior A ranks.
“Jeff’s recruiting ability, his organization skills, his approach to coaching, and his drive to succeed, are all things we knew we wanted,” he said in a press release.
Bergeron joins the Express from the Nanaimo Clippers, where Campbell was general manager prior to moving to Coquitlam last September. She’s a graduate of the exercise science program at Concordia University in Montreal, where she specialized in athletic therapy.
The Express complied a record of six wins, 11 losses and three overtime losses in its 20-game pod season against the Surrey Eagles and Powell River Kings that wrapped up May 9 at the Scotia Barn in Burnaby.
The BCHL recently announced no players or team staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the course of the six-week schedule in which teams were grouped with regional rivals in five central locations around the province. In a press release, the league said it conducted approximately 2,200 tests before the truncated season began and then weekly until its conclusion.
Former coach finishes last in Texas
Meanwhile, former Express head coach Jason Fortier, who helmed the team to a regular season championship in 2020 before its playoffs were cut short last March by the COVID-19 pandemic, wrapped up his first season with Odessa Jackalopes with a 3-2 loss to the Amarillo Bulls.
Fortier led the North American Hockey League squad to record of 12 wins, 36 losses, four overtime wins and four overtime losses. The Jackalopes finished last in the league’s six-team South Division.