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New Bench Boss

Candice Ward/Photo

They got their man.

The Hitmen announced the hiring of Steve Hamilton as head coach Tuesday morning, becoming the 10th bench boss in franchise history.

“It’s certainly an honour to be a part of the Hitmen organization,” Hamilton said. “This is a very talented up-and-coming team and I couldn’t be happier to come to Calgary and call it home.

“I feel like it’s a group that has a lot of talent and depth and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Hamilton brings a wealth of coaching experience, having been a part of the Edmonton Oil Kings staff for the past eight years.

The 44-year-old served as an associate coach there from 2010-14, helping guide the franchise to two Ed Chynoweth Cups in 2012 and 2014, and a Memorial Cup in 2014.

Shortly afterwards, Hamilton would take the reins as head coach for the Oil Kings from 2014-18.

Now, he’ll find himself on the other side of the vaunted Battle of Alberta, leading a promising young Hitmen team.

“I was impressed with the things the team did at the deadline last year and impressed with the faces that we played against with my time in Edmonton,” he said. “It’s nice to look at the roster on paper and recognize so many names. From an outsider’s perspective a year ago, I thought they had some good young talent and have a great foundation.

“It’s exciting to be a part of a franchise that has a rich tradition. We hope to add our own chapter to that rich history.”

In addition to his experience in the WHL, Hamilton also coached four seasons in the AJHL with the Spruce Groove Saints and one season with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders. He also has served internationally with Team Canada at the U-17’s and U-18’s.

Hitmen General Manger Jeff Chynoweth made it a priority in his search to find a coach with the experience in the Dub, with the grind of the newly 68 game-schedule a challenge of its own.

“It was imperative to hire an individual with WHL head coaching experience and we believe Steve is a perfect fit,” Chynoweth said. “He is an excellent communicator whose teams are known for their hard work and structure. Together with our returning coaching staff we feel we have the right group of personnel for future success.”

Hamilton will be busy getting to know his players and staff from now until Aug. 24 when training camp gets underway, as he looks to create a strong relationship with everyone in the organization.

“Training camp is going to be really important to get on the same page,” Hamilton said. “With the staff being intact it’ll be a very important resource for me to get to know them and get familiar with the players.

“I want the guys to be excited and carve out as much opportunities as they can for themselves this year. Ultimately when there’s a change there is a new opportunity and it’s up to the players to be as prepared as they can be in camp and take advantage of that.”

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