Former Smokies coach and GM Cam Keith hired by Chiefs, headed to RBC Cup

Cam Keith landed on his feet as an assistant coach for the Chiefs and a berth into the RBC Cup

Cam Keith

Cam Keith

Cam Keith will get one more shot at the Wenatchee Wild as the former Trail Smoke Eaters coach was hired by RBC Cup hosts the Chilliwack Chiefs on Monday.

Keith will join the team as the Chiefs assistant coach to new head coach Brian Maloney after another bizarre firing of Chilliwack head coach and GM Jason Tatarnic one week prior to the puck drop at the RBC on Saturday.

Similar to Keith’s firing three days after losing out to the Wild in the BCHL semifinal, Chiefs President Glen Ringdal has yet to state why Tatarnic was relieved of his duties, while the Chiefs prepared for the RBC Tournament.

The Province newspaper tried to pry an answer out of Ringdal to no avail, although he did refer to, “many factors affecting the players, the club and the community”, but did not elaborate.

As for Keith, the Nelson native took over as Trail’s head coach and GM in June 2016, and led the Smoke Eaters to two straight playoff appearances. Trail had it’s best showing in more than a decade, clawing its way to the Interior Division final this season before succumbing in five games to eventual BCHL and Doyle Cup champion Wenatchee.

“I am deeply honoured and excited to join the Chilliwack Chiefs coaching staff,” said Keith in a release. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the RBC Cup.”

Previously, Keith coached the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones. He and Maloney are well-acquainted, having played against each other in the American Hockey League, NCAA, and BCHL and will now work together to coach the host team through the RBC Cup tournament.

Keith, a former Smoke Eater player, posted a 58-47-2-9 record with Trail as coach and GM, and will kick off the RBC Cup behind the Chilliwack bench against Interior Division rival, the Wenatchee Wild, at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Rounding out the RBC Cup line up are the Ottawa Jr. Senators, Steinback Pistons, and the Wellington Dukes.