On Wednesday January 10th the Kimberley Dynamiters announced that they had extended head coach and general manager Derek Stuart’s contract for two more years with an option for a third year.
“We are excited to have Stuart for another two years.” Dynamiters President James Leroux said. “The board has been really impressed, and we are excited in the direction the team is headed.”
Since taking the helm in 2016, Stuart has a 60-19-1-2 record in the regular season. He also helped guide the Dynamiters to the Kootenay Conference Finals in 2017.
“It’s exciting for me and my family, to have the security and to be in a town that is so supportive and strong as Kimberley.” Stuart said. “We love it here. We are happy here.
“I like everything about the organization,” Stuart added, “it is a great caliber of hockey, the town is excellent.”
Even though Stuart identified the town and hockey organization as reasons for renewing, he added that there is a family connection as well. “We have a lot family here. It’s really comfortable for me and my wife, and our young daughter, and our expected child at the end of the month. We couldn’t pick a better place than Kimberley.”
In his season and a half as the head coach and general manager Stuart was quickly able to identify his coaching highlight: the 2017 playoffs.
“The sheer excitement, starting with the intense Fernie series. Then upsetting the Cyclone Taylor Cup hosts in the second round. Then taking Beaver Valley to a decisive fifth game. That has been the highlight so far.”
Stuart wants to have a winning team in Kimberley, but his goal is to continue to grow and develop players and help them move along.
“I’d like to keep moving players on that want to move on; and to continue establishing Kimberley as a place where players can come and move on. Whether that is moving on hockey wise or into school.”
The theme though for Stuart the day after signing the extension was gratitude, “My wife and I are very grateful to the Dynamiters board of directors for showing confidence in myself and the coaching staff.
“Essentially saying that they think we are doing the right thing. I am very grateful to them.”
With 12 games left in the regular season Stuart and the Nitro’s begin the playoff push. The Nitro’s next game is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Golden Rockets.