Jerry Bancks

Jerry Bancks

KIJHL: Kimberley Dynamiters begin search for new bench boss

Kimberley Dynamiters embark on path towards new era as search for head coach and general manager begins

The search has begun for a new head coach and general manager for the Kimberley Dynamiters.

After former head coach Jerry Bancks announced his retirement and former general manager Mike Reid announced he was stepping down last Wednesday, the KIJHL club’s executive wasted no time in preparing a call for resumes as it seeks to fill the big shoes left behind.

The position, which the team is looking to fill as a combined full-time and paid head coach/general manager role, was opened to submissions Monday afternoon and is set to close Friday, April 22.

The hope is to have a new bench boss in place by May 1, prior to the team’s spring camp, which is slated for May 13 to 15 in Penticton.

“I would really like to see this league get rid of some of the things that exist in it,” Bancks said, reflecting upon the impact he hoped his clubs had on the KIJHL and its unwritten future. “It’s sometimes thought of as a greasy league and it’s not as developmental as it should be. There are just some things about it that I’d like to see it clean up.

“There are some people in the league that are more into using intimidation, taking advantage of one official on the ice who may be overwhelmed in a certain situation… Kids don’t come here because they want to get injured. They come here because they want to play hockey and have fun. I like good, tough hockey… It’s all a part of the game, it’s why we choose to play it, but sometimes it gets a little bit overblown.

“I’m proud of… the fact we had success playing hockey in what I would consider the right way… You play with respect. I hope that the league learns to play the game the right way.”

Under the guidance of Bancks, the Dynamiters vaulted back to the top of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League heap, claiming the 2015 KIJHL championship before finishing as runner-up at the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup for B.C. Junior B supremacy. In 2016, the Nitros then went on to claim the league’s regular season crown with a record of 41-7-0-4 before falling in the league’s playoff finale to the 100 Mile House Wranglers.

“If you talk to general managers around the league, the template they want to use is Jerry’s,” Reid said after announcing his decision to move on. “[Jerry] will deflect a lot of credit to everybody around him, but this isn’t anything without him and what he stands for.

“It speaks for itself with the guys moving on and the character, quality kids we have in this organization. That’s how you win. That’s how you move kids on.

“We’ve taken a league that used to be about a bunch of 19- and 20-year-olds having some fun drinking and partying, and we’ve made the league about fitness, character, skill, speed and we’re obviously going to move on, probably a dozen kids in two years and almost win two championships.

“It’s so important to me that people realize the work that was done here by Jerry.”

Outside of replacing the immense shoes vacated by Bancks, the club is also looking to fill the position of assistant coach Jeff Keiver and president Chad Koran. Both stepped away from the club, leaving massive voids across the board and in all areas of operations.

“In year one, we might have lost some games we shouldn’t have lost because we played with a developmental-type strategy,” Reid said, reflecting on the approach of Bancks and his hockey operations crew. “But it paid off the last couple years.

“As a league, it’s so important to have the right coaches in place and have a fundamental commitment to development. Winning will be a by-product of that if you do it right. We’ve proven that here.

“We set out, in no uncertain terms, to win the league a few years ago. We wanted to create a good environment for the kids to play in and be successful, create some memories. We created something special out of that.”

All of the characteristics found in what Reid describes can be found on the list of requirements the Dynamiters executive has laid out regarding what they are looking for from the successor to Bancks and Reid.

While there is certainly no replacing Jerry Bancks, the club has set out to find the next best candidate as it ushers in a new era of Kimberley Dynamiters hockey ahead of the 2016-17 KIJHL season.

Bancks and his supporting staff played a vital role in establishing a new culture for success and how it is achieved in the KIJHL. There’s no doubt that the expectation for a new bench boss, from both the Dynamiters executive and fans in Kimberley, will be to go about seeking success in similar fashion.

No pressure.

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the Kimberley Dynamiters website and follow the appropriate links before submitting a cover letter and resume to vice-president James Leroux.