The Tri-City Americans rounded out their coaching staff Tuesday, hiring Brian Pellerin as the teams’ associate coach.
“It was important that if we were going to make a change, to find someone I was familiar with and (coach) Mike (Williamson) was familiar with,” said Americans general manager Bob Tory. “Brian brings a wealth of experience. I think he is a good fit for a young team like ours.”
Pellerin, 44, is a native of Hinton, Alberta. After a long pro career in several minor leagues, he turned to coaching. He has spent the last three years as head coach of the Midget Prep team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia. He led his team to the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Championship this season.
“I’m excited to work with really good people in Tri-City,” said Pellerin, who replaces Dan Price. “They have good history and I’m excited to be a part of that down there.”
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It was his relationship with Williamson — who was hired to coach the Americans on May 13 — that helped Pellerin land in the Tri-Cities.
“I’ve stayed in contact with Mike over the years,” Pellerin said. “There was a casual phone call last week to see if I was interested. Things worked out from there.”
Pellerin got his start in the WHL as a 5-foot-10, 185-pound winger for the Prince Albert Raiders, then played several years in the IHL, the British Ice Hockey Superleague, the WPHL and the CHL.
In his 12-year pro career, Pellerin played 360 IHL games, including stops in Peoria, Houston and Chicago, as well as 169 WPHL games and 114 CHL games.
He was a rugged forward from his WHL days and moving forward, and has the penalty minutes (average of 153 per season) to back his play.
He served as an assistant coach for three year under Williamson with the Portland Winterhawks, then moved on to become the head coach of the Amarillo Gorillas of the CHL, a job he held for two seasons.
“My strength is my experience,” Pellerin said. “I consider myself well-rounded. I’ve been a head coach in the pros and I’d like to think I can do a little of everything.”
Pellerin and his family, who live in Penticton, plan to move to the Tri-Cities the end of the July.
Notes: Americans goalie Eric Comrie is attending the ninth annual Program of Exellence goaltending camp that runs through Saturday in Calgary. Comrie is one of three WHL goalies in the program, along with Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Ty Edmonds of the Prince George Cougars. ... The WHL has changed it’s playoff format. The new format will have the top three teams in each division make the playoffs. The remaining two spots per conference will be filled by the next two highest-placed teams in each conference — regardless of division — based on their regular-season record. ... If an East Division team is involved in the WHL Championship Series, the series will utilize a 2-3-2 format.
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