Nitros coach Vopat temporarily steps away from team

Team president and head coach mutually agree to temporarily part ways in order to sort out undisclosed issues.

Kimberley Dynamiters head coach Roman Vopat has stepped away from the bench temporarily while the organization addresses some issues, according to president Dave Smith.

Smith declined to go into detail about the situation, but stressed that Vopat hasn’t been fired or removed from the head coaching position.

“The executive asked Roman to step back from the team for a bit,” said Smith. “He is in no way fired or disassociated from the team—he’s still making all the decisions—he’s just not on the bench or in the dressing room for a couple of days till we get things figured out.”

Vopat, a former NHL player, joined the Niitros last year and led the team to the second round of the KIJHL playoffs, where they fell in Game 7 to the Fernie Ghostriders.

No reason was given for the move by the executive on their decision, but Smith hopes everything will be resolved in a few days.

“There are some issues that have to be cleared up and it’ll be easier if he was to step away and he agreed to do that,” Smith said. “We’re meeting with players, we’re meeting with coaches and, without getting into specifics, we’re working on some policy changes and then we’ll go from there.

“I don’t personally expect any changes in personnel, it’s just a temporary thing.”

Vopat stepped away from the team after Friday’s 4-1 home loss to the Nelson Leafs. Assistant coach Jordan Foreman, Todd White and Kris Knoblauch will be around to run practices in the interim, said Smith.

Next game action for the Dynamiters is a home tilt against the Castlegar Rebels on Saturday.