On Saturday, March 1st the Camrose Kodiaks will wrap up the 2013-2014 regular season in Drumheller – for Kodiaks Head Coach Boris Rybalka it will be his 1,300th Junior A game as a coach.
Rybalka has coached 1,075 regular season games as both a Head Coach and an Assistant Coach with Lloydminster and Camrose, as well as 190 AJHL Playoff games with the Kodiaks. He has added an additional 34 games to his coaching resume at the RBC Cup National Junior A Championship.
Involved with the Kodiaks since Day One in the franchise's 17-year history, Rybalka took over behind the bench in 2000-2001. Since then, he has guided the organization to five AJHL titles, five Doyle Cup wins and one National Championship title (2001). Through the course of 19 seasons, Boris Rybalka has amassed over 700 wins in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and was honoured as the AJHL Coach of the Year in 2003-2004.
“It wasn’t until University that I even considered coaching,” said Rybalka. After being encouraged by his parents to explore this new path in hockey, he began taking the required coaching certifications and preparing for a career as a coach. “When you start out, you never know where the game can take you. It’s been an amazing 19 years. Every year I try to get better and grow, there is always more to learn. ”
After 19 years as a Junior A coach, Rybalka measures his success by the players he has developed along the way. “It’s not just about hockey, it’s about making these players better people and better athletes. The big think I look at is the number of players that have left Camrose with the ability to be successful adults. Many of these players are now young men with families and careers, and they still contact me for advice and just to stay in touch. That is very rewarding.”
In 2008, Boris Rybalka surpassed Dwight McMillan as the all-time winningest coach at the RBC Cup National Junior A Championship. The tournament was Rybalka’s fifth trip to the RBC Cup, a tournament in which he holds a coaching record of 25-9-34.
Ironically, the most memorable game of his career was the Gold Medal Game at the 2003 RBC Cup in PEI – the Kodiaks lost, but Rybalka found out that morning that he was to become a father – it is and always has been all about family for Boris Rybalka.