Fort McMurray, AB (March 6, 2017) – Tom Keca will continue to ‘steer the ship’ behind the Oil Barons’ bench. Today, the Oil Barons and Keca are excited to announce a three-year contract extension, that will see Keca remain as Head Coach and General Manager until the end of the 2019-20 AJHL season.
“I’m extremely appreciative of what the organization has done by hiring me as a head coach and allowing me to continue on with the vision we (coaching staff) have to get the team back to its rightful place in the standings,” said Keca. “I consider myself a Fort McMurrayite, I’ve lived there my entire life. I consider this a dream job, so to have the opportunity to come back for three more years is something that I cherish.”
Since being named Head Coach and General Manager in June 2015, Keca has helped the Oil Barons climb from a 30 point and 10 win season a year ago, to a 91 point and AJHL North Division title this year. The extension adds to an exciting week for Keca, as he was named the AJHL’s 2016-17 Coach of the Year last Tuesday – an award voted on by his peers across the league.
“It’s truly an honour to receive an award that gets voted on by your peers,” said Keca. “This is an award that one person can’t win, it’s a collection of people. I really appreciate the hard work that my staff does each and every day.”
Keca’s no stranger to the Oil Barons organization. Growing up in Fort McMurray, Keca’s tenure with the Oil Barons dates back to the early 90s, when he was a player with the team. After finishing his junior ‘A’ hockey playing career in 1992, Keca went on to play hockey in Europe and later the University of Lethbridge, where he obtained a Bachelor of Education/Arts Degree.
In 2003, Keca returned to Fort McMurray to serve as an assistant coach under former bench boss and close friend Gord Thibodeau. During that time, Keca played a key role in helping the Oil Barons make several deep playoff runs, including four AJHL final appearences in 8 1/2 seasons.
“I love my job now and I loved my job then,” said Keca. “During that time, I was able to coach with a good friend of mine and coming to the rink everyday was a complete joy. We felt that we did a good job of building a team that the community could be proud of,” added Keca.
Oil Barons President David Fitzgerald had nothing but positive things to say about the contributions that Keca and his staff have brought to the organization over the past two seasons.
“Tom brings a tremendous amount of passion, leadership and experience to the rink each and every day. He’s a local guy that wants the best for our organization, players and community,” said Fitzgerald.
“Whether it’s mentoring minor hockey coaches, leading a local hockey academy for high school students, or getting our players involved in the community – Tom’s done a lot for this organization over the years,” added Fitzgerald. “We’re proud and excited to have him continue to lead our team for three more years.”