The Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s newest team has found a fresh face to serve as the club’s bench boss and manager. On Wednesday afternoon, the Winnipeg Freeze made the announcement that Harry Mahesh has officially been named as the team’s second head coach and general manager in franchise history.
“I’m very excited to be able join the Freeze in their ‘second season’,” Mahesh told Game On. “Even though the 2020-21 season was cut short, they did a great job getting the team up and running last summer. Being able to work with these motivated young men and being able to help them develop both on and off the ice is something I’m really looking forward too. I want to thank Jake (Heisinger) and Matt (Cockell) again for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”
This news comes shortly after the announcement from 50 Below Sports + Entertainment that 2020-21 head coach Josh Green had accepted the role as an assistant coach with the entity’s Western Hockey League team, the Winnipeg ICE. Having previously coached with the ICE, Green’s move up the ladder was not a complete shocker.
Despite only coaching in five games prior to the COVID-19 induced league shutdown in November, Green saw his first-year MJHL club fall to an 0-4-1 record with six goals for and a -24 goal differential. The team – made up mostly of first-year MJHL players – will have had a chance to learn and grow by the time they set foot on the ice for 2021-22.
Following that organizational change, the Freeze were tasked with the job of finding his replacement. Mahesh, 32, spent three seasons with the Winkler Flyers from 2006-09, where he amassed 41 goals, 118 points and 154 penalty minutes in 175 regular season games. He played one season of Division I professional hockey in Sweden before moving to the United States, where he suited up in both the Federal Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League.
“Harry is a great communicator and has demonstrated the ability to lead a program as well as build and maintain relationships with players.” Freeze governor Jake Heisinger said in a team-issued media release. “We look forward to Harry helping our players with their development on and off the ice.”
The Vanderhoof, BC. product concluded his playing career with the Dayton Demolition following the 2015-16 season and turned his attention to coaching. He has since served behind the bench of the CSSHL’s Banff Academy and Calgary’s Minor Midget AAA Canucks, before coming to Manitoba, where he coached two years with the Pilot Mound Hockey Academy’s U-18 female prep squad. He spent the 2020-21 season back in the MJHL as an assistant with the Winkler Flyers.