The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is set to welcome Niverville into the fold for the 2022-23 season and to start the new calendar year, the team will is making some major announcements, their name and who will be the head coach and general manager.
First, the team is excited to announce the hiring of its first head coach and general manager, Kelvin Cech.
Cech, originally from Edmonton, is a highly experienced coach at the Junior level. He worked for three years as assistant coach of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds before taking on his first role in the MJHL, becoming head coach of the Winkler Flyers during the 2019–2020 season. He was given Coach of the Year honours by the MJHL for his time in Winkler.
He will now complete the current season at the West Vancouver Hockey Academy before assuming the full-time role in Niverville on April 1, 2022.
“Kelvin has coached at many different levels,” says Clarence Braun, spokesperson for the Niverville Junior A Hockey Club board of directors. “Our search committee spoke with many applicants for the position and originally contemplated the hiring of different people for the head coach and general manager positions. After meeting Kelvin, we decided to move forward with a single position of coach/GM and provide that opportunity to him. We are excited to have Kelvin on board to head up the hockey operations side of our team. We look forward with great anticipation to the opening of the 2022–2023 season in September.”
Braun says when it comes to naming the team, it's important to have the communities input. "We wanted to bring in the community into being a part of the decision. We had a process where by we had the opportunity (for people) to present a name and if they could provide the rational as well, that way we could know the thoughts behind the name they submitted."
Braun says the reaction was well beyond what they expected. "We had well over 300 submissions as of the 14th of December", Braun explains. "The board met and we short listed it down to 12 names. The community will once again have their say as they can go into the poll and vote for their favourite. The final board decision will be made after January 9th.
The final 12 names are Clippers, Express, Ice Dogs, Knights, Knighthawks, Nitro, Nordiques, Northstars, Railhounds, Roadrunners, Threshers and Torque.
Having the final 12 now in focus, Braun says the whole process has been a rewarding one. "When we went down to 12, it was the 16th of December and on the first day, I think we had 1000 hits to the site. Obviously, there's a significant amount of interest and it's going to be very interesting what the community has to say,"
As for the jersey colors and design, Braun says they are waiting a bit before deciding on all of that ."Our process was, let's first choose a name so when we go to the graphics people and start that, they're free to play with what's appropriate to the name. There has to be something that connects the name to the logo and the colouring. Of course, we have to factor in the rest of the league as well. There's a lot of colours (in the MJHL) so maybe we want to be a bit more creative and set ourselves a part."