Revelstoke resident Randy Quakenbush has been named the new general manager and head coach of the Revelstoke Grizzlies, replacing Rylan Ferster, who stepped down last week.
“I’m extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to work with the Revelstoke Grizzlies,” said Quakenbush at a news conference at the Revelstoke Forum last Wednesday. “They’re one of the flagship organizations in the KIJHL, with a long tradition of not only winning but also sending players on to the next level. That’s a key part that I want to make sure we keep doing. Not just winning this season but sending winning people out into the community and further on into their hockey career.”
Quakenbush has called Revelstoke home for more than 20 years. He will be staying at his job with BC Hydro while he assumes his new duties. He said the his contract is for two years with an option for a third year.
“Randy lives in the community, he works in the community, he’s a very polished coach and he’ll do well taking this team forward next year and hopefully the year’s following as well,” said Grizzlies co-owner Michael Roberts.
Last year Quakenbush was the team’s associate head coach. He has 25 years of coaching experience, including five years as an assistant coach with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL.
He’s described as a hard worker with a tactical and analytical hockey mind.
“I have a good knowledge of systems but I think my real strength is to do counter-systems,” he said in an interview. “I like to think outside the box and I ask my players to play the same way. I think one of things about players that play for me is there is not a fear of making a mistake. If you make the same mistake over and over there’s going to be an issue but if you try and restrict your players into too tight a thinking it limits their creativity in what they do.”
While he said that in Revelstoke he’s know as a BC Hydro worker who’s involved in hockey, “Outside of Revelstoke nobody knows me as anything but a hockey person.”
“Although I’m new to this position I do have a reputation in the hockey community and hopefully can draw on that,” he said.
Quakenbush has been busy contacting the team’s recruits for next season to talk to them about the change in management.
“Luckily most of them already know me, we’ve established a good relationship and they’re looking forward to joining the program,” he said.
The Grizzlies have planned another event for next Wednesday to announce the signing of up to five local players. Quakenbush did mention some players are likely to return from last year’s team, including Reid Blinkhorn, Lucas Hildebrand, Corson Jonstone and Braeden Monk.
“I think the strength of our team this year is going to be in our defence and we’re going to be young and skilled up front,” he said. “We’re going to be a young team and in Junior B young is good.”