Smokies sign assistant coach

The Smokies announced Wednesday that Bob Dever is the team’s new assistant coach.

The Smokies announced Wednesday that Bob Dever is the team’s new assistant coach.

Dever is a former assistant with Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers in the BCHL, and a former head coach of the Creston Thunder Cats in the KIJHL.

He’d spent the past three years in Hungary coaching successfully at both the under-18 national team and professional ranks.

“Bobby is going to be a good fit, I know him personally,” said Smoke Eaters’ coach Bill Birks. “He’s been coaching for probably close to 15 years at this level so he’ll definitely help out.”

Dever and Birks go back a ways, playing together in Merritt in the 80s and hooking up on the golf course this past summer.

Despite success in Hungary, Devers is looking forward to his return to the BCHL.

“I was looking for an opportunity to come back home to work and it just seemed like a really good fit to come and work with Bill,” said Dever.

Although Dever has been out of the BCHL loop for eight years, he is looking to return with a fresh set of eyes and wealth of experience gained overseas.

“One of my biggest assets is that I’ve had to go coach outside my comfort zone and experience different things, whether it was language or systems or whatever.

“It’s been something that I think will help me and bodes well for our club and to be able to just bring a different perspective,” he added.

The Smoke Eaters have been without an assistant coach since Birks took over as head coach at the end of last season.

“It took a while and I had to make sure I got the right guy in here and I believe 100 per cent that he’s the guy.”

Dever will be moving to Trail early next week and will be with the club for training camp August 26-28 at the Cominco Arena.