Valley West head coach to join Trail Smoke Eaters’ staff

Jessie Leung leaves Valley West Hawks for assistant-coach post in BC Hockey League

After six years behind the bench of the BC Major Midget League’s Valley West Hawks, Jessie Leung is leaving the team and heading east.

The Hawks’ bench boss – who spent a total of six years with the team, including the first three as an assistant coach – is set to join the BC Hockey League’s Trail Smoke Eaters as an assistant coach.

“It’s equal parts excitement and sheer terror, but any good adventure requires both,” Leung told Peace Arch News Friday afternoon.

“It’s an opportunity and something I’d been thinking about for the last little bit – whether or not to jump in with both feet and try to make a go of coaching as a career. Coaching in the major-midget league is a high level, but you always have what I call the safety net, a (day job) or whatever. It’s at that point where you’re going to jump in and do it full-time, or you decide that’s the highest level you want to coach and stay where you’re at.

“For me, where I am in my life, I’ve been working hard to get into this position, so I decided to go for it.”

In three years as head coach with the Hawks, Leung compiled a record of 73-35-10-4 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss), highlighted by a BCMML title in 2015/16.

Leung’s coaching resume extends beyond the major-midget circuit. He’s also been involved with the BC Program of Excellence, helping coach regional tryout camps as well as BC Cup teams. It was at the BC Cup last month that he first connected with Trail Smoke Eaters head coach and general manager Cam Keith.

“I knew the opportunity was there with Trail’s assistant coach, Curt Toneff, leaving, and I got to work with (Keith), and that sort of started the relationship and the conversation, and here we are,” Leung said.

Leung said he’s planning to move to Trail this summer.

“We felt that with Jessie’s work ethic and commitment to player development, he would be a terrific addition to the Smoke Eaters’ coaching staff,” Trail’s director of hockey and business operations Craig Clare said in a news release.

A new Valley West head coach has not yet been announced, and though Leung “has a pretty good idea” who it will be, said it wasn’t his place to make such an announcement.

“What I can say is that I would not have moved on if I wasn’t confident, 100 per cent, in the person and the people who are coming in to take over,” he said. “It’s been six seasons with this team, and I feel like I’ve done a lot to help build this program to where it is today, and I wouldn’t have walked away if I didn’t think somebody would be able to come in and keep it going onwards and upwards. I wouldn’t have done that to the team.”

Just Posted

Olympic gold now official for South Surrey weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

VIDEO: Family asks for help finding remains of Surrey man missing for 10 years

Police suspect foul play in Kellen McElwee’s disappearance a decade ago

VIDEO: Murals ‘giving life to dark corners’ of Newton

BIA works to create a ‘festival alley’ in Surrey with a graffiti-focused ‘youth vibe’

Delta teen teams up with Cloverdale bakery to make cute cake pops

Aliya Grewal is only 14, but already making her mark with sugary style

Langley teen signs with Vancouver Whitecaps

Sixteen-year-old Grade 10 student from Langley joins MLS club

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Thieves target B.C. firefighters helping flood victims

The service has been helping with sandbagging efforts, as rural Oliver battles flooding

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

B.C. liquor server wage to be phased out by 2021

Piece work pay for farm workers rises, but stays in place for now

5 to start your day

Advocate questions use of raccoon traps, lawyer says Gabriel Klein not fit to stand trial

Most Read

l -->