The newest coach of the Prince George Spruce Kings was ready to get to work Friday morning.
“We’ve got a great group of returning players,” Chad van Diemen told a media conference at the Prince George Coliseum on Friday, “and we’ve got the Prospects Camp starting today to look at filling out the roster.”
General manager Mike Hawes said van Diemen, who spent the last six years as the associate head coach and assistant general manager of the Powell River Kings, was his top pick for the job, which came open last month when Dave Dupas resigned.
“Chad wasn’t the first call I received about the job,” Hawes said, “but Chad was the first guy I called about the job.”
Hawes said he had targeted three possibilities, all from within the British Columbia Hockey League, but van Diemen was the first name on the list.
“One of the biggest things I wanted was someone with experience in our league, and Chad definitely has that.”
Van Diemen said while this was his first official head coaching position, he has experience running a team.
“With the job (Powell River head coach) Kent Lewis had, he had to miss about 10 games a year, and then when we was coaching at the World Junior A Championships, I was in charge of the team.”
He said opportunities like the one with the Spruce Kings don’t come up very often.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of continuing what the team has put in place over the past few years. It’s nice to come to a team which made the playoffs and has a lot of players coming back.”
Hawes noted van Diemen will find a number of similarities, besides the name, between the Kings and the Spruce Kings.
“Both teams are community-owned, and both had travel difficulties because of their location. Chad has already dealt with those aspects in Powell River, which should make the transition to Prince George easier.”