A former star Express player is back in the train station.
Kyle Turris, who played for the BC Hockey League team when it was based in Burnaby as construction was completed on the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, has been named a player development coach as well as a special advisor to general manager Tali Campbell.
Campbell told the Tri-City News while the specifics of Turris’ role are yet to be worked out, he’ll be available to work directly with players and advise on front office duties, like the recruitment of players.
Turris, who’s from New Westminster, helped lead the Express to a Fred Page Cup league championship and a Royal Bank Cup national Junior ‘A’ title in 2005-06, scoring a hat trick in the final game against the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The following season he finished second in BCHL scoring with 121 points in 53 games and an additional 24 points in 16 playoff games.
Turris was selected third overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. He joined the team a year later, after completing a season at the University of Wisconsin.
Turris went on to play 13 professional seasons, with Phoenix, the Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Oilers, amassing 425 points in 776 games.
Without a contract for the coming season, Campbell said Turris is moving his family back to the Lower Mainland. It's while talking with the player about arrangements to retire the jersey number he wore when he played for the Express that discussions to take on a roll with his junior hockey alma mater began.
Campbell said Turris’ experience and career trajectory set a good example for current and future Express players.
“Any time you can get your alumni involved at any level is great,” Campbell said, addning Turris’ involvement with the community and charitable causes will also instill similar values and commitment in his young athletes.
“The foundation of our program is to help these young men become better human beings,” he said. “Kyle set the path forward in this organization and in the BCHL.”
In fact, earlier this summer the league announced the new Kyle Turris Community Award to honour one player from each team for their service and dedication to the community.
During his time in Ottawa, Turris became involved with an organization called the Capital City Condors that provides adaptive hockey opportunities to kids who are unable to play on other organized teams because of cognitive or physical challenges.
His commitment to the group continued after he was traded to Nashville, and he even helped raise funds to bring 100 of its players and their parents to his new city to showcase the benefits of adaptive hockey and kickstart a similar effort there.
In a news release, Turris said he’s excited to reconnect with his junior hockey roots in a meaningful way.
“The Express organization played a key role in my personal and professional growth.”
Turris is expected to join the team in October
The Express opens its training camp Sept. 2.