Drayton Valley AB. – Drayton Valley Thunder President, Monte Waronek, is pleased to announce that the Thunder have hired Eric Thurston as the organization’s new Head Coach and General Manager.
Eric Thurston has over 25 years of high-level coaching experience including experience at the national and international levels. During Eric’s 15 years as the coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team, he successfully won the U Sport national championship on five occasions. He was honoured to have been awarded, Coach of the Year – U Sport and on two occasions Coach of the Year – Canada West Hockey. Eric acted as Director of the Hungarian National Hockey Coach Mentor Program, and as Head Coach for the U20 & U18 National Teams of the Hungarian National Ice Hockey Federation.
Prior to his 25 year coaching experience, Thurston played with the Victoria Cougars where he collected 173 points in 206 career games, while being named to the 1984 WHL Second All-Star Team. He played only one season of collegiate hockey at the University of Alberta, winning the 1986 National Championship, before going on to play six seasons professionally in Europe.
Eric Thurston is a professional with a proven track record of recruiting, developing and promoting players at a national and international level. He has extensive experience in elite player development, academic preparation, coach mentorship, community engagement and motivational speaking.
“We are incredibly excited to have Eric join our organization,” said Waronek. “He has an incredible history of not only building a winning team but he knows what it takes to recruit character players and develop them, while building a winning culture and tradition that will endure.”
“I am both thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as the Head Coach & GM of the Thunder. I am passionate about coaching and excited to become part of the Drayton Valley community, and I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to build a franchise with a winning tradition and culture. I am very impressed with the very skilled and dedicated players who have been recruited this year and I look forward to working with them to achieve both their individual and our team goals. I am excited about creating something that players, staff, supporters and the entire community will be proud of for years to come,” said Thurston.