Smokies hire assistant

Castlegar man named Trail Smoke Eaters’ assistant coach.

The Trail Smoke Eaters hired a new assistant coach this week, adding some good Kootenay experience behind the bench.

The Smokies added Castlegar resident Brent Heaven to their coaching staff on Friday. Heaven comes with six years experience coaching junior hockey, in addition to a one-year stint with the Major Midget Kootenay Ice in 2010-11.

“I’m obviously very excited,” said Heaven. “I played back in the BC Hockey League back in the 90’s and remember playing against Trail, and really liked the arena and its heritage.”

Last season Heaven coached the KIJHL Creston Valley Thunder Cats and is a 2009-10 Neil Murdoch Division coach-of-the-year recipient with the Castlegar Rebels, where he spent three years behind the bench, taking the team to the league final. Heaven also played for the Quesnel Millionaires and Powell River Kings of the BCHL, before finishing his junior career with the former Osoyoos Heat of the KIJHL.

He came to the Kootenays in 2005 to coach the Rebels, but his  goal was to get to the BCHL level and to be able one day coach with the Smoke Eaters.

Heaven and Smokie coach Bill Birks built a good relationship this past year. The former Creston coach made AP’s readily available for the Junior A team and impressed Birks with his commitment to the players and the game.

“He recruits, he’s got some great ideas for community events with the kids, he’s got some really good ideas for power play and penalty kill, and just brings a fresh set of eyes in,” but most of all says Birks, “He is eager as hell to work, and that’s the biggest thing.”

Part of the 32 year old’s unique skill-set is an education in business and his work as head coach with IDT player development at the Okanagan Hockey Academy, in addition to conducting numerous hockey schools and power skating clinics.

“My hockey background is the developmental side of the game,” he said. “That’s one thing I’ve prided myself on in my seven year career coaching junior hockey is to help the young kids get to the next level whether that be to Junior A or Major Junior or college.”

The Smokies look to have a strong core of young talent returning this summer for training camp, and while Heaven will continue to help the Thunder Cats find a new head coach, he will also be working to strengthen the Smoke Eaters.

“With Bill coming in as a first year head coach, he did a good job bringing in some good core players,” said Heaven. “You need good goaltending and defense but if you can’t put the puck in the net you’re going to have a tough time winning hockey games.”

The Smoke Eaters were plagued by injuries throughout the season, particularly the last half when in many games the team could only dress 13 players. Heaven’s goal is to help coach Birks bring in the best talent they can, and hopefully include local players as well.

“We’re going to look to add some scoring and gain stability all the way through the line up . . . but try to get a lot more Kootenay flavour into the lineup. I know it’s been tough over the years, but that’s something I’m really going to try to help with.”

The Smokies executive fielded about 25 applications before deciding on the local talent.

“We’re going to work really closely, hand in hand together, and try to get the Smokies into the tops in the league,” said the new assistant coach.

Heaven’s record in Creston was 30-17-0-5 last season, and an impressive 99-51-2-10 in Castlegar.

Just Posted

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read