Pictured: Top Left - Paul Barnes, Bottom Left - Zach Wright, Right - John Stuart (courtesy Merritt Pro Photo)
The Merritt Centennials announced some new additions to their hockey operations staff today.
Taking over from the now retired Brian Barrett in the position of Director of Hockey Operations will be John Stuart. Stuart has over 20 years of hockey experience in managing, scouting, and recruiting from the grass roots level to the CSSHL, BCHL, and WHL.
Stuart says he's excited to carry on the legacy of Brian Barrett and will continue to do whatever he can to help the club.
"For the past decades, Brian has been instrumental to this club. I just want to carry on and keep this team on a positive note, and keep them moving in a positive direction. Anything I can do to help the team, I'm willing to do."
Assuming the roles of Assistant Coaches will be Paul Barnes and Zach Wright. Barnes will be charged with overseeing the forwards, while Wright will be in charge of defense. Both coaches are long time Merrittonians.
Barnes worked his way through the minor hockey ranks to make the hometown Centennials in 1987, and played parts of 5 seasons with Merritt registering 174 points in 205 games. He joins the Centennials with over 20 years of coaching experience.
Wright played Junior B in the KIJHL, and has been a part of the Merritt Midget coaching staff for 6 seasons - the last 3 as head coach. He also served as a special assistant last season, when Head Coach Joe Martin was away with Team Canada West.
Stuart says both will make excellent additions to the coaching staff under Derek Sweet-Coulter.
"Both of them have very calming influences, both of them have strong ties to Merritt. I like what they both bring to the table. Paul is an offensive guy and can help on the forward side of the puck, and Zach is a defensive guy that can help run the defenders. I think the fit with Derek is going to be perfect."
In addition, the team has also added a new Goaltending Coach in Mike Loewen, and a Video Analyst in Levi Stuart.
The Cents look to continue where they left off last weekend with a win heading into this weekends action against the Langley Rivermen and the Penticton Vees.