The OHL without Warren Rychel seems like a strange thing, and it looks like this season will feature the former NHLer after all.
Rychel became part owner of the Windsor Spitfires in 2006, and has been the team’s General Manager for 13 seasons, helping them win three Memorial Cup Championships.
Earlier in the off-season, he announced the sale of the team and that he would be stepping down from the General Managers role.
Months later, he’s accepting a head coaching role with the Barrie Colts, taking over for Dale Hawerchuk who is on leave from the team.
“We felt we needed to bring in a seasoned hockey veteran to help lead the team this year. We consulted with many people, including Dale Hawerchuk, and we all agreed that Warren is the right man for the job”, said Howie Campbell, President of the Colts.
“It’s been a very difficult couple of weeks, but we are confident that Warren can help guide us to where we need to be. We’ve been building this team for awhile and we feel we have the team to have a good run this year,” he added.
It’s not your typical announcement for a new head coach, as everyone around the league remain concerned for the well-being of Dale Hawerchuk.
That includes Rychel himself.
“Although I’m thrilled to be joining the Colts, this is not the best circumstance for anyone. I have huge respect for Dale Hawerchuk and first and foremost my thoughts are with him and his family. I’ve known Howie and the Colts organization for many years and I know this is a top notch OHL team. I’ll do my best to work with the organization and the players to bring home a great season,” said Rychel, who will be joined by assistants Todd Miller, Billy Smith and Taylor Carnevale behind the Barrie bench.
“As a group, I think we have some of the best minds and experience in the league and I’m excited to get started.”
During Rychel’s time in Windsor, the team won back to back OHL Championships in 2009 and 2010, something that only two teams have accomplished in the last 25 years.
He was named the OHL Executive of the year in 2009. As a player, he played in the NHL from 1987 to 1999 and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996.