FORT MCMURRAY, AB (May 15, 2014) — The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are delighted to announce the hiring of Curtis Hunt as the team’s new Head Coach and General Manager.
Curtis comes to Fort McMurray with an incredible wealth of coaching experience, including six seasons as head coach of the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, where he left with the second-most games coached in that franchise’s history.
Hunt was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League in 2008-09, and later served as head coach of the Senators’ American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton later that season.
Hunt was also an assistant coach with Canada’s gold-medal winning World Junior Hockey Championship teams in 2007, in Leksand, Sweden, and 2008, in Pardubice, Czech Republic. He also won a silver medal as an assistant with Canada’s men’s under-18 team at the 2005 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in the Czech Republic, as well as a gold medal at the 2005 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia and Breclav, Czech Republic, a bronze as co-coach of Team Canada at the 2012 Innsbruk, Austria Youth Olympics, and a bronze medal at the recent Sochi Paralympics with Canada’s Sledge Hockey team.
He also brings two years of experience as head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, and prior to that was an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL for four years.
Hunt’s playing career saw him win a Memorial Cup with the Prince Albert Raiders in 1985, with whom he spent three seasons before moving on to a lengthy professional career that included stops in Flint, Michigan as well as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served as captain of the St. John’s Maple Leafs for the team’s inaugural three seasons in Newfoundland before capping off his playing career with the Houston Aeros and Michigan K-Wings of the IHL. He was selected in the ninth round of the 1985 NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks.
“We had discussions by phone, and I did a little research on the organization, being a top franchise,” said Hunt, “and when you think of junior hockey in all of Canada, maybe in all of North America, you would include Fort McMurray in that mix.”
“This looks like just a great opportunity for everyone involved. I’m thrilled to be here today and get the process moving.”
“He seems like the perfect fit for us because of his past experience, and his connections,” said Oil Barons President Len Clarke. “We just want to continue the tradition of the Oil Barons organization. We’re well respected in Alberta and across Canada; we just wanted somebody to get us to the next level.”
“You’re looking at a premiere organization; so when you look at the way things are done, there are a lot of things done right,” said Hunt. “It won’t be a complete overhaul; it will be building on the strengths.”
“I think it’s his philosophy on coaching and hockey in general,” said Clarke of the rationale for selecting Hunt. “When you talk to him, you know his main objective is to produce winners, both on and off the ice. Our objective as an organization is also to help these young players become better men and productive citizens, and Curtis can certainly help us fulfill that desire.”
“Three principles would be hard work, intelligence, and support,” said Hunt. “We want to be a group that works hard. We want to play with intelligence – hard work and smart work. Then, support in hockey is everything; the most important player is the player beside you, and all of our success is linked; that goes right through your locker room.”
“We’re very proud,” Clarke added. “As much as we’ve chosen him – he’s chosen the Oil Barons.”
For more information, contact the Oil Barons office at (780) 743-5509.