Head Coach Scott Atkinson (right) enters his third season as the man in charge behind the bench. (File Photo)

Roster turnover has Silverbacks head coach excited for coming season

Salmon Arm team announces all coaches returning to bench for 2019-20

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are welcoming back their full coaching staff for the 2019-20 BCHL season.

Head coach and general manager Scott Atkinson enters his third season as the person in charge behind the bench. From his first year to his second, the Silverbacks’ record improved from 25-29-3-1 to 27-26-4-1. The team’s goals against in the regular season dropped by 28 from 2017-18 to 2018-19.

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“Having a staff that has been together makes things more co-ordinated and allows things to go a lot smoother. Everyone kind of knows what the lay of the land is,” Atkinson said. “Our ownership group has really provided a foundation for us to be successful and now it’s up to us to take that next step and execute the plan.”

Assistant coach Tanner Cochrane returns for his second full season, after being hired in July of 2018. The 26-year-old Kamloops native played three seasons in the BCHL with the Chilliwack Chiefs and Powell River Kings, and then coached the BCMML Thompson Blazers for two seasons before joining the ‘Backs.

“The players love him, so I think that’s a key piece, especially at the assistant-coach level,” Atkinson said of Cochrane. “He needs to be a conduit to the players, so he’s very good at communicating and interacting with the players. And he has a good hockey mind; a real good knack for identifying talent.”

Salmon Arm’s own Tyler Shattock also returns as an assistant coach, after being brought on in October of 2018. A fourth-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2009, the 29-year-old played four full seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Kamloops Blazers and Calgary Hitmen, finishing his junior career with a WHL championship and Memorial Cup appearance. Shattock then played four seasons in the AHL and three in the ECHL, before spending one year abroad in the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey league, suiting up for the Braehead Clan in Glasgow, Scotland.

Read more: Silverbacks add experienced defence, forward to roster

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“[Shattock] communicates extremely well, in a different way [than Cochrane]. They’re not the same at all, but yet the task gets done very effectively,” Atkinson said. “I know the players have a ton of respect for his playing background and just generally the way he carries himself…He doesn’t slice and dice things. He tells you the truth point blank and I think the players appreciate that.”

Atkinson noted the large roster turnover has him excited for the season.

“We’ve brought in a lot of players, so I think that’s the exciting part — there’s going to be a lot of fresh faces,” he said. “A lot of really fast guys and a lot of big guys that can play. Our roster is going to improve quite a bit.”

The Silverback’s first exhibition game is against the West Kelowna Warriors on August 23 and 24. Then the team will take on the Vernon Vipers on the 28th and 30th.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

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