By Dave Leaderhouse
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of features on the 12 head coaches in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League that will run every Friday throughout the summer. The intent is to familiarize the fans with those who are in charge of the various clubs as there has been a significant turnover in the last couple of seasons. Often ready to take a backseat to the players as those are the ones who deserve to be in the spotlight, the coaches and general managers shoulder the responsibility for putting the product on the ice and rightfully deserve credit for making the SJHL one of the premiere Junior “A” leagues in the country.
Lately, it has been somewhat of a revolving door running the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Kindersley Klippers, but Garry Childerhose is looking to bring some stability and consistency to that west-central Saskatchewan community as he becomes the fifth head coach for the club in the last decade.
“This was just the right fit,” says the 29-year-old Childerhose, who leaves the Flin Flon Bombers after five years as an assistant to Mike Reagan. “It’s my first head-coaching position, but I am ready to go.”
Childerhose takes over from Clayton Jardine, who in his one season in Kindersley guided the Klippers to a 36-16-4-2 record and for his efforts was presented the Canalta Hotels Coach of the Year Award.
Jardine succeeded Geoff Grimwood who took over from Rocky Zinger who stepped in for Larry Wintoneak – get the picture! The Klippers have made a move up the standings in recent years, but still the club has not advanced past the quarter-final round in almost 10 years. Childerhose hopes to change that.
“We have a strong group returning,” says Childerhose. “We have a very strong leadership group and there is a strong culture in place in Kindersley.”
“We will be a team that plays with a lot of pace in all three zones,” added Childerhose. “We will have lots of physicality and we will be well structured.”
Sounds like a solid plan and Childerhose certainly has the background to put it in place.
Childerhose was born in Saskatchewan, but played his Midget AAA hockey in Pembina Valley, Man. Childerhose then returned to the province to play three years with the Melfort Mustangs from 2007-10 before heading to New York State for a four-year run with an NCAA Division III college in Geneseo.
Once his playing career was over, Childerhose moved behind the bench joining Reagan in Flin Flon. During his time with the Bombers, Childerhose’s responsibilities increased every year and on several occassions took over control of the team for stretches when Reagan was away fulfilling his Hockey Canada responsibilities. His efforts did not go unnoticed as he was the recipient of the Dwight McMillan Award as the top assistant coach in 2016-17.
“I was fortunate in Flin Flon to have an opportunity to coach a number of times when Mike (Reagan) was away with Team West for those three years,” says Childerhose. “I was certainly able to gain some experience.”
Childerhose will have even more experience at his disposal as Wintoneak returns as an assistant while Stef Corfmat has been made the director of player development.
For the group the goal is simple: develop the players both on and off the ice.
“We have to continue being a part of the community,” says Childerhose in reference to the Klippers being a viable member of Kindersley in the past. “We have to continue making a connection with the fans.”
The Klippers have been very active working with community groups and that is expected to be built upon under Childerhose’s watch. Improvement in the on-ice product is obviously another goal, but preparing the players for the future is also paramount in having a solid program in place. Childerhose, with his own experience going the NCAA route, can provide plenty of information to the players if it is required. Childerhose also played a key role in a number of Flin Flon players getting opportunities to move on to the post-secondary level so his contacts are widespread.
Change has been prevalent in Kindersley in recent years and Childerhose is looking to make this change a positive one – and more permanent.