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Coyotes’ playoff run ends, but Ken Law to return next season as coach and general manager
The man who has led the Osoyoos Coyotes to one Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) championship and two consecutive trips to the conference finals has announced he will be back as coach and general manager just days after another remarkable playoff run came to an end.
Ken Law confirmed Tuesday that he has been offered a contract by team owner Randy Bedard and he hopes to sign a new deal before his current contract runs out May 1.
“Randy and I will sit down and hopefully iron something out … he has told me he wants me back and I have told him I want to come back, so I’m sure we’ll be able to get something done before May 1,” said Law.
The Coyotes’ 2013-14 season came to an end Sunday evening in Kamloops after the hometown Storm won their fourth-consecutive game 6-2.
After winning the opening game in the best-of-seven conference finals 3-0, the Coyotes ran out of steam against a big, tough and talented Storm squad that had only lost nine of 52 games during the regular season.
After losing game two in Kamloops last Wednesday by a score of 4-2, the Coyotes lost a tough 5-2 decision on home ice Friday.
They fought valiantly again Saturday night on home ice, but could generate very little offence and dropped a 4-1 decision to give Kamloops a 3-1 series lead and opportunity to wrap up the series, which they did, on home ice Sunday evening.
Law said he couldn’t be prouder of his players for their effort in the playoffs and against Kamloops.
“We fell a little short of what we wanted to accomplish, but we played as hard as we could and we just didn’t get the result we were looking for,” he said.
After stealing game one in Kamloops, Law said his players were extremely confident they could compete and perhaps steal the series, but the Storm didn’t lose only nine games and win the KIJHL regular season title without merit, he said.
“They’re a big, strong and very talented hockey club,” he said. “Our guys gave it everything they had, but we were young and some of our guys just ran out of steam.”
The Storm loaded their team after Christmas with four players with BCHL experience and three others who had played in the WHL and this made an already solid team very formidable, said Law.
“If you want to buy a championship at this level, it’s not too difficult, but we prefer to do it the old-fashioned way and earn it,” said Law.
With several key veterans, including captain Colin Chmelka, moving on and several more players capable of playing at a higher level next year, Law said he would be happy if a strong nucleus of eight or nine players returned next season.
“Our goal is to have all of our guys move on to a higher level because that’s what this league is all about, but realistically we would be happy with eight or nine key guys coming back,” he said. “Key guys like Aaron Azevedo and Troy Maclise will hopefully get a chance at the next level or in school, but they’re more than welcome to come back if that’s what they want to do.
“Our job is to develop these players to the point none of them come back, but we know a lot of them love playing here and they are more than welcome back if they need a place to play some good hockey.”
After taking a well-deserved week off, Law will begin recruiting for the 2014-15 season next week by running a camp in Terrace, while attending a couple more junior tryout camps before running the Coyotes spring tryout camp April 25-27 at the Sun Bowl Arena.
One of the big reasons he won’t hesitate to sign a new contract is because of the tremendous fan and community support the Coyotes receive, said Law.
“It really helps our organization when you can tell players about the tremendous fan support and tremendous support we get from the town and community,” said Law. “When you’re talking to a kid about playing in Osoyoos, most of them already know about the great fans and support we receive and that really helps in recruiting good players.
“There’s a lot more to bringing in good players than talking about the mild weather in the winter. It’s about the great tradition of winning hockey games and getting support from your fans and we have amazing support.”
Although disappointed at coming so close to making the league championship series two years in a row, Law said he will look back on the 2013-14 season with very fond memories.
“We had a great year,” he said. “We came up just short, but we lost to a great team and our guys gave it everything they had and that’s all you can ask for.”