The Revelstoke Grizzlies have a new owner, coach and general manager, with the sale of the team by Lew Hendrickson.
Ryan Parent, who is the face of the new ownership group, will assume head coach and GM duties of the team. He wouldn’t identify his partners, saying they preferred to remain in the background.
“At this point, for all intents and purposes, I’ll be leading the ownership group,” he said. “It’s a small group of hockey minded individuals… They’re not going to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.”
Parent comes to the Grizzlies after spending last season as an assistant coach with the West Kelowna Warriors of the BC Hockey League. There, he worked under former Grizzlies’ coach Rylan Ferster.
The previous season he was the coach and general manager of the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, but he was let go 40 games into the season with the team mired in last place.
Prior to that, he coached Major Midget with the Pursuit of Excellence hockey academy in Kelowna, was an assistant coach with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and coached throughout Canada and Europe.
In an interview with the Times Review, Parent touched on all the notes you want to hear from new owner, coach and general manager.
He said his goal is to develop a sustainable program that is strong on the ice and consistently sends players to Junior A, mentioning connections to nearby teams like Salmon Arm, Vernon, West Kelowna and Merritt. “Our objective in what we’re doing with the players is to move them forward and on to better opportunities,” he said. “Some people might see it as a step down moving from the BCHL to the KIJHL. I don’t see it as a step down. I see it as an opportunity to develop players.”
His first goal is to develop a culture change in the team. The plan is to run the organization like a Junior A team, though within the constraints of a Junior B budget.
“Number one, we want a team that’s accountable to the community. We want to have success both on and off the ice,” he said. “It should be a privilege to play in Revelstoke. It’s a desirable place to play. It has a great reputation.”
Parent said the aim is to recruit a team with a solid veteran core surrounded by good young players that will move forward to Junior A.
He’s hoping that with a strong team on the ice and one that’s a fixture in the community, attendance will be strong.
“I would expect that we’re going to be out in the community with various functions,” he said. “I’d love to get our guys in the schools, get them active in reading programs. I’d like to have them volunteer in the community. We want to be a fixture in the community.”
The new ownership group purchased the team from Lew Hendrickson, who became a part-owner of the Grizzlies in 2009 and gained control of the team in 2012 after a failed attempt by former majority owner Michael Roberts to sell the team to 100 Mile House.
“The new ownership group would like to thank al the past owners for their cooperation in the sale and we’re looking forward to being a part of the community,” said Parent.
The Grizzlies are set to start the next season with the main camp beginning Aug. 22.