Kodiaks Set Themselves Up for the Future

With over 1000 games coached as a head coach/general manager in the AJHL, Boris Rybalka has signed on for the next four years. “Our goal has always been to develop the player/athlete on and off the ice and to make them successful in life. Now I want to also really develop and mentor the coaches who we have coming aboard so that they know and understand what it is to be a Kodiak and part of this great City of Camrose.”  Recently, the Mayor of Camrose made a comment about why he is running for another term and it is very similar to our plan. We want to see the Kodiaks survive for years to come and we need to put a few things in place to make sure this happens. The Mayor wants the city to be great for years to come but he needs to see a few things done yet.

Nigel Dube joins the Kodiaks staff as an associate coach! Once a Kodiak, always a Kodiak! Nigel played for the Kodiaks in the 2007 season when they went onto the National Championship. Nigel was recently coaching in Minot in the NAHL. He has been instrumental in turning the franchise around on and off the ice, where many players have gone on to the NCAA during his time in Minot. This did not come as a surprise to me.  When Nigel left Camrose to attend school in Minot and play hockey in the ACHA, we stayed in contact for the past 10 years. What I respect about Nigel the most is he listened! Nigel wanted to get into coaching right away and we talked and although sometimes you might not want to hear things, I told him to stay in school and get his degree and gain experience! Well now he has his masters, and he has gained experience in marketing, coaching and life. The community of Camrose will soon see the passion, knowledge and love of the game that he has.  He will be meeting many people, businesses and the players in the very near future! I am excited to be able to mentor Nigel as I believe he will have a great career in hockey! Nigel reminds me of a young mini me!  Dube states: “I am excited and honoured to be coming back to Camrose to a program with such great history and success on and off the ice. I am looking forward to working with and being mentored by one of the best coaches in the game.”

Blair Becker stays on with the Kodiaks coaching staff! What I value in Blair is his honesty, integrity, and passion. He is a very knowledgeable man who is loyal, trustworthy, and committed to our organization. He went to school here in Camrose at Augustana and he loves this community. What most people do not know is that he drives from Edmonton to Camrose to be here for practices and games. He runs a very successful hockey program called “Core Hockey” where he teaches skill development to players on and off the ice. He is great at what he does and many of the players he teaches move on to the next level. He is in high demand in Edmonton as he does individual sessions and he works in academies in Edmonton. I am glad that Camrose will be able to see Blair this August in Camrose as “Core Hockey” will be here from August 21st to the 25th.  Blair is one of the best  for teaching skill development as he has the passion and knowledge to be able to communicate to the athlete. I am very honoured to be able to coach again this year with Blair. Becker commented: “I would like to thank Boris and Doug for mentoring me along the way. I would like to thank the organization for the trust they have put in me. I am proud to be a Kodiak.”

Matt Hunter will come aboard as an assistant coach. Matt has been doing great work since arriving in Camrose 3 years ago. He has been working hard with our business community in Camrose and surrounding area. He has been in the office and selling season tickets and doing game day activities. He has also been training athletes on the skating treadmill and synthetic ice at the Kodiaks training ctr. Now with a little restructuring, Matt will start to learn the game of hockey on the ice as an assistant coach. He has a passion for the game, having played at the NCAA level.  I respect his understanding that there is a steep learning curve from player to coach.  ”You might be a great player but that does not necessarily mean you will be a great coach. They are totally different.”  I am excited to see how he develops and learns the game of coaching over the next few years!  Hunter states: “I am excited to start this new chapter in my career now becoming an asst. coach. I look forward to learning and being mentored by coach.”

Lastly, I want to thank a long time Kodiak coach who has been an unbelievable asset to our organization and he will continue to help mentor during the upcoming year. Coach Doug, over the past 20 years that we have been together it has been an amazing journey. Many times our wives have said that we should write a book and they are correct! When we coach we miss birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, movie nights, dates, pretty much everything.  I would not change anything for a second. Our wives and families have been so supportive and understanding. Over the years Doug has been a coach, parent, doctor, trainer, marketer, manager, ticket seller, bus loader, dressing room cleaner, computer developer and ….the list goes on and on. Coaching is about everything! Most importantly you have been a loyal friend and that is something that will last a lifetime. Thanks for an amazing 20 years and thank you Ann for allowing Doug to be part of my life and the Kodiaks life. I am still not sure how you did it for the past 20 years, running a very successful  Fountain Tire franchise and being at all of the practices, games, meetings ……… now Ann gets to navigate things for you, Doug! Enjoy your grandchildren and all of your travels! You are so deserving of health and  happiness!