The news of the men’s hockey program coming back to Red Deer College was already out there so one more piece of the puzzle still remained in the box – who would coach this new squad?
That information was revealed last week when current RDC Queens coach Trevor Keeper was named to the post.
“Trevor’s wide range of experience makes him a perfect candidate to develop and lead the Kings hockey program into the future,” said RDC Director of Athletics Keith Hansen.
Keeper is no stranger to the coaching ranks having held jobs with the Red Deer Rebels, the local midget AAA team, the University of Lethbridge and a stint as an assistant coach with the last version of the Kings hockey team back in 2003.
For Keeper, the return of the program in 2013 after a nine-year absence is something he was pulling for and was eager to jump at the opportunity.
“I think the program (men’s hockey) is really important to the College and the community,” he said about a program which was a flagship for the College and the City as well, winning seven ACAC championships and three national titles.
He is also not afraid to step into the shoes of coaches like Al Ferchuk, Ray Bennett, Ron Kraft and of course Mike Babcock.
“It’s an honour to be in their shoes, where they once were but at the same time they’re good colleagues and peers that I keep in touch with and we talk hockey all the time.”
Keeper says the storied history of the College Kings is something he is very aware of and he has a game plan in place in order to keep that tradition of strong hockey teams going.
“There will be a lot of pressure but I relish that. I want to be competitive right off the bat. We have a plan for the first four or five years and we want to be right up at the top of the league.”
It’s a sentiment which is fully endorsed by Hansen, who as coach of the powerhouse RDC Kings volleyball team for years is no stranger to success.
“My goal is to be at least a playoff team next year and hopefully go quite deep into the playoffs.”
For this to work many things had to fall into place, topping the list was the financial picture for the newest RDC sports team.
“We have to be able to fund a hockey team and there was definitely a commitment to not take it out of academic dollars so then you have to be creative, you have to work hard within the community to create some other money and we’ve been able to do that,” explained Hansen.
Keeper intends to rely on his vast network of contacts spread over many leagues over the years and he’ll be looking at players he knows in Central Alberta but would love to have the roster stocked with players from across western Canada.
“Just everyone you meet in hockey is connected and that helps in some way when it comes to recruiting players here.”
The Kings will drop the puck on their first season in almost a decade in the fall of 2013.