Former Yale standout named Smokies head coach/general manager
The Trail Smoke Eaters are pleased to announce the hiring of Nick Deschenes as the team’s new head coach and general manager.
Deschenes, a native of Morinville, Alberta, joins the Smoke Eaters from the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins, who he led to a 6-7-0-1 record through fourteen games this season.
“We as a board of directors met with Coach Deschenes on the weekend and were very impressed with his approach,” said Smoke Eaters president Tom Gawryletz.
“He comes to our organization with a terrific hockey background and was doing a great job with the club in Grand Forks,” Gawryletz added.
As a player, Deschenes skated in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, scoring 40 goals and 85 points during the 1998-99 season earning a scholarship to Yale University. Deschenes played four seasons with the Bulldogs, scoring a NCAA career-high 17 goals and 37 points during the 2000-01 season. Upon departing the Ivy League school, Deschenes played in the AHL (Philadelphia Phantoms) and ECHL (Trenton Titans) before a 5-year stint in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
He joined the Border Bruins as a coach at the tail end of the 2011-12 season after his final season of professional hockey with the Federal Hockey League’s Danbury Whalers.
Assistant coaches Barry Zanier and Craig Clare, who had been serving as interim co-coaches for the past twelve days, will now resume their regular roles. Deschenes is expected to join the Smoke Eaters for practice Tuesday.
The Smokies return to action Friday evening when they host the Victoria Grizzlies (7:30, Cominco Arena).