You can expect a more concentrated focus from Red Deer Rebels Head Coach Jesse Wallin this year with the announcement of team owner Brent Sutter taking over the general manager duties for the most part.
“He’s going to be able to be a lot more involved and he’ll be able to help me out with a lot of the GM duties and alleviate a lot of that which will allow me to focus on the coaching side of things,” said Wallin about the decision which both were agreeable to and apparently took some time to reach.
Sutter was considering going outside the organization in order to hand over the duties of general manager but in the end he figured on himself being the more logical choice.
“He’s the owner, it’s his team and he’s always been involved but I think having his focus and his full attention back here now I think is going to be beneficial for everybody involved,” Wallin pointed out.
In the end, what is best for the team is what directed this change in the ranks and it also places Wallin into the sole position of coaching these young men, something he has a passion for.
Wallin says he will still be involved in some of the general manager meetings with regard to the league but the players will be able to reap the benefits of having him full-time for the most part, something which was missing since he was saddled with both the head coach and general manager responsibilities.
“It’s a lot to take on, both coaching and GM duties and I’m excited to be able to lean on Brent and his expertise.”
Wallin says the task of being a general manager took him away from too many things he felt were important to the development of the hockey team from a coaching perspective like having to scout other players in the league and getting to know the WHL a little better, he said.
“Those are things Brent will be able to cover off.”
There will also be a slight change behind the bench for the Rebels this season on top of Wallin being there wearing just the head coach hat.
Former assistant coach Chris Neiszner did not have his contract renewed for the upcoming season and has instead taken on a job with Hockey Alberta.
That leaves Bryce Thoma as the only other coach on the bench for the Rebels.
The Rebels kick off the 47th WHL season with a home game against the Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 21st at 7:30 p.m.