Sutter: No shortage of candidates for vacant head coaching position

Rob Wallator

One day after Steve Konowalchuk stepped down as head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, GM Brent Sutter was already fielding calls and e-mails from prospective new bench bosses.

“It’s crazy, I’ve talked to some people already,” Sutter said Friday. “I know what I’m looking for, what type of coach I want to have, what we want to have moving forward here. That’s where I am with it.”

Clearly, not all the interested candidates are what Sutter has in mind, but a few have piqued his interest.

“We’re eliminating guys going through the process, but at the same time there’s certainly guys I’ve been intrigued with. I’m starting to reach out to them and we’ll see where it goes.

“It’s still early obviously, just a day into it.”

Konowalchuk, who was hired in 2021 and coached the Rebels through two winning seasons, resigned for personal reasons and to be closer to his family in Seattle. He praised the Rebels organization upon his exit.

“It was a pleasure and an honour to work with Brent, Shaun, and Merrick Sutter, “ he said. “The Rebels are truly a first-class organization in every way. I wish them and the players all the best going forward.”

Konowalchuk also had kind words for the Rebels fans, calling them “the best in the WHL.”

“When you’re coaching there’s a lot of stress. With some family issues and personals issues with himself he just felt it was best to be closer to his family now,” said Sutter.

“He did a great job here, no question, and he’s a good man. But you have to be dialled in to do it and he just felt like there were too many other things on the outside that would affect him to do what he needed to do.

“He just thought he’d get back home and be closer to his family. He has a newborn grandson and just felt it was best to step away from coaching now and focus on the family, not have that pressure and stress that coaching puts on you.”

Sutter stressed there’s no timeline for hiring a head coach.

“If I find the right guy it could be sooner than later and if not it will be a process,” he said.

Would Sutter entertain the notion of moving back behind the bench?

“Right now, no,” he stated. “With that being said, if we don’t find the right person I would have to rethink it through. Right now my goal is to find someone different.”

The Rebels also have an opening for an assistant coach following Ryan Colville’s decision to leave the team and pursue a head coaching position closer to his home in Cincinnati.

More News
Second-round pick Missura signs with Rebels
7 days ago
First-round pick Hamilton signs with Rebels
1 week ago
Konowalchuk steps down as Rebels head coach
2 weeks ago
Summer store/road construction begins!
2 weeks ago
Meachem honoured with Lifetime Sport Achievement Award
2 weeks ago
Carmichael excited about new opportunity with Rebels
2 weeks ago