Richard Lappenbush believes the Beaverlodge Blades Junior B hockey team took significant steps forward this week.
Wednesday, the Blades president announced the team’s coaching staff for the 2017-2018 North West Junior Hockey League season – the organization’s 20th anniversary.
At the helm is new head coach Phil Sykes. Sykes, now 58, is a Dawson Creek. product. He played four seasons at the University of North Dakota (1978-1982). He then went on to play 456 games in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets. In 1986, he also played for Team Canada at the World Ice Hockey Championships and captured bronze.
“Bottom line, his experience and knowledge (was important). He’s been involved with the game his whole life, both as a player and coaching aspects,” said Lappenbush, noting the team interviewed seven or eight coaching candidates.
“Bottom line is, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.”
After his career ended in the early 1990’s, Sykes went on to coach high school hockey in Minnesota and Wisconsin for more than 15 years.
Sykes said he’s eager to get started.
Note: Phil Sykes was the head coach of the Northwest Icemen (Barron co-op) for three years (2013-16). He played at the University of North Dakota and also played in the NHL for 10 years.