© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News

Sam Watefield, Saanich Braves head coach.

Ed Geric and Norm Kelly, owners of the Saanich Braves Junior B hockey team that plays in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division announced Wednesday that their head coach Sam Waterfield is moving on to the next level, Junior A.

He signed on with the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League – a conference rival of the Victoria Grizzlies.

“The Saanich Junior Braves of the VIJHL are proud to announce that our Head Coach Sam Waterfield is making the jump to the BCHL,” said the owners over Twitter on Wednesday. “Sam has accepted a coaching position with the Coquitlam Express. We wish Sam all the best in his future endeavors.”

Waterfield led the Braves to a 10-1-1 start to the 2018-2019 season and ended up in third position in the South Division and fifth place in the VIJHL with a record of 21-17-4-6.

The Braves went onto the league playoffs and defeated the Kerry Park Islanders in six games – a team that finished above them in the regular season standings. They were eliminated in four games against the league-leading Campbell River Storm, who went onto host the provincial championships; The Cyclone Taylor Cup.

The final came down to rival Victoria Cougars and Revelstoke Grizzlies – Revelstoke won the final 5-1.

Waterfield coached for two years with Saanich starting in 2017-2018, where he transformed the team into a league championships finalist. He won Coach of the Year.

From Victoria, Waterfield played Saanich minor hockey and then moved to the Braves Junior B program for two years. He played three years in the British Columbia Hockey League, North American Hockey League and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League before moving on to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference where he played for four years. He also played for Portage College followed by three seasons with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Asked at the end of the 2018-2019 seasons if he plans to be back with the Braves, he said, “Well, just like players, coaches are always looking to move up too.”