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A poorly held secret harboured by the Victoria Royals front office staff was unveiled Monday at a news conference at Save on Foods Memorial Centre. The conference was about the hiring of Dan Price to take over Dave Lowry’s role as head coach of the Western Hockey League team.
Recently it was announced that Lowry took a position with the Los Angeles Kings.
Price is the third head coach in Royals history since relocating to Vancouver Island from Chilliwack. This is the first head coaching job in the WHL for Price, a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law. The St. Albert, AB native joined the Royals last season and served as the team’s assistant coach.
Also in the move, former NHL player Doug Bodger accepted the position of assistant coach.
“In a way, the path to being a head coach with our club began when we hired Dan last season. He has an exceptional set of skills, and it was clear to us that he was destined to be a head coach in the WHL and just needed an opportunity,” President and General Manger Cameron Hope said. “We did look at other candidates, and we took careful steps in doing our due diligence. In the end, Dan emerged as our top choice. His knowledge, professionalism, and the manner in which he approaches the game and our players, makes him the perfect fit for the Victoria Royals.”
The 42-year-old Price has nearly a decade of experience working in the WHL. He worked as a scout for the Regina Pats from 2003 to 2006, before he started his coaching career with the Chilliwack Bruins as an assistant coach for two seasons (2006-08). The Bruins promoted Price to associate coach in 2008-09. Also during that season, Price served as an assistant coach for Hockey Canada’s Team Pacific at the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and helped guide the team to a silver medal. Price served as an assistant coach with the Tri-City Americans for two seasons (2012-14).
“I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to take the next step in my coaching career with this organization,” Price said. “I am looking forward to working with Cameron, our players and the rest of the staff to continue the winning culture that has been established the past five seasons.”
A former junior hockey goaltender, Price played three seasons (1992-95) with the Trail Smoke Eaters and Fort St. John Huskies of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. He concluded his playing career in the CIS at the University of Regina (1995-98).
In addition to the Price and Bodger moves, the club also named Ryan Guenter as new Head Scout.
Bodger, who grew up in Chemanius enjoyed a 16-year professional career that saw him play in 1,071 games and earn 528 points (106g-422a) split between six NHL clubs (Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabers, San Jose Sharks,
“We are extremely pleased that Doug is increasing his role within our coaching staff,” President and General Manager Cameron Hope said. “The experience and knowledge that he brings to our preparation, and to our bench, is a great benefit to our players.”
Previous to his time in the NHL, Bodger played two seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Kamloops Junior Oilers. In 142 contests, Bodger tallied 190 points (47g-143a) and was named to the WHL Second All-Star Team in 1983 and WHL West First All-Star Team in 1984. During the 1983-84 campaign, Bodger helped guide his team to a league best 100 points (50-22-0) as the Junior Oilers captured the WHL Championship and finished third in the Memorial Cup. In his junior career, Bodger played in 24 WHL playoff games and amassed 22 points (2g-20a).
Guenter has been a member of the Royals/Chilliwack Bruins franchise since 2009, and most recently served as the team’s Senior Regional Scout for Alberta.
“Ryan has been with this franchise for eight years, and he is uniquely committed to the complex job of scouting and talent identification,” Hope said. “His passion for the game, dedication, and thoughtful approach to our scouting process make him a great fit for this role.”
Currently, the native of Lethbridge, AB is working towards his Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology with a focus on Talent Identification at the University of Alberta. Guenter has also earned a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Degree and Business Management, Human Resources Degree from the University of Lethbridge.
During his time at the University of Lethbridge (1998-2003), Guenter played in 117 games for the men’s hockey team where he collected 26 points (12g-14a) to go along with 179 penalty minutes. Guenter was also a member of Team Alberta’s baseball team at the 1997 Canada Summer Games and captured the bronze medal.