After announcing former Director of Scouting Darren Ritchie as the team’s new General Manager on July 12th, Ritchie and the Wheat Kings then named Dave Lowry as the 23rd Head Coach in Brandon’s franchise history just one week later. Following that weekly pace, the remaining open coaching positions for the 2019-20 season were filled just one week after that latest announcement.
Rounding out the staff for 2019-20 and joining Lowry on the bench will be two returnee coaches and one new addition. Both Don MacGillivray (Assistant Coach) and Tyler Plante (Goaltender Coach) will return to the fold for the coming season, while newcomer Mark Derlago will step into the mix as an Assistant Coach.
“Don is really well-prepared, hard-working and well-respected by our group,” said GM Darren Ritchie in a team-issued media release Tuesday. “He is a big reason why our defence took a real step forward during the second half of the 2018-19 season. Tyler has a great relationship with our goalkeepers, and that should benefit both of them this coming year. Mark will be an excellent addition to our staff. He’s just retired from the game and should relate well with our players. I am confident that the leadership that he showed as a player will translate well to our room.”
MacGillivray (who formerly served with the University of Manitoba Bisons, various teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders) will enter his fourth season with Brandon. Plante (a former Wheat King netminder who holds the franchise record with 12 shutouts) was drafted to the Florida Panthers, before playing out the majority of his nine-year professional career within both North America and Europe, will also return for his fourth year in Brandon.
Derlago – a former teammate of Plante’s with the Wheat Kings in the early 2000s – dressed for three seasons in his native Brandon, compiling 82 goals, 162 points and 110 penalty minutes in 209 regular season Western Hockey League games. He has since played for 11 different teams in the 12 seasons following his last as the Captain of the Wheaties. Derlago most recently played in Denmark with Esbjerg Energy.