Former Trail Smoke Eaters assistant coach Jessie Leung hooked up with the BCHL champion Prince George Spruce Kings last week.
Leung, 34, was hired as an assistant to head coach Alex Evin, a Castlegar native, and will take his spot behind the bench for the 2019-20 season.
“I’m excited to be joining a first class organization in the Prince George Spruce Kings,” said Leung in a release. “As someone who watched the program from a far last season, I was impressed with the structure, execution and accountability demonstrated throughout the team.”
Following the Spruce Kings run to the Canadian Jr. A championship final, Evin was named head coach in place of Adam Maglio, a Nelson native, who joined Adam Deadmarsh as an assistant coach with the WHL Spokane Chiefs.
Leung spent two years with the Smoke Eaters organization, but parted ways in April when Trail decided to change it’s coaching dynamic behind the bench.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t come to an agreement for an extension,” Leung told the Times. “They explained to me that the coaching and managerial staff is changing and consequently with those changes there wasn’t a place for me.”
Prior to Leung’s stop in Trail, he coached the BC Major Midget Valley West Hawks for six years, leading them to a BCMML championship in 2016. His two seasons in Trail saw Leung take on recruiting and coaching duties in support of Trail coach and GM Cam Keith his first year and Jeff Tambellini in his second season. Leung helped lead the Smoke Eaters to the post season in both years, including a semi-final loss to the Vernon Vipers in Game 7 of the 2019 playoffs.
“I am excited to add Jessie to our staff,” Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes said in a release. “I know he will compliment Alex very well. Our discussions with Jessie over the past couple of weeks have been very good. His knowledge of the game is exceptional and I am confident that he understands what our expectations are as an organization. Our organization has taken a lot of strides forward in recent years and adding a good coach like Jessie will help us continue down that path.”