WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors Junior Hockey Club have added to their Hockey Operations Staff with the addition of Josh Blanchard as the Director of Scouting and Hockey Development and promotion of Assistant Coach Ayrton Nikkel to Assistant General Manager.
Blanchard, 26, joins the Warriors organization after spending the past five years away from the game, working in corporate/technology sales. Blanchard is no stranger to the BC Hockey League and the Okanagan hockey scene having played his minor hockey and junior hockey in the area and province.
The Kelowna, BC native played in 197 career regular season BCHL games spanning between four different teams following his time with the Okanagan Rockets of the BC Elite Hockey League (BCEHL). Blanchard compiled 50 goals and 66 assists for 116 points split between the Penticton Vees, Surrey Eagles, Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Nanaimo Clippers.
“I am very excited to jump back into the hockey community and help develop the next generation of players in the Okanagan,” commented Blanchard, “Hockey has always been a massive part of my personal life with playing my junior hockey in the area. So now I am really looking forward to jumping into the operations side and bringing value to the organization wherever I can.”
In addition, the Warriors are pleased to announce Assistant Coach Ayrton Nikkel has been promoted to Assistant General Manager. A Peachland, BC native, Ayrton is in his 4th season with the club and helped, along with General Manager and Head Coach Simon Ferguson, guide the team to their best regular season in franchise history during the 2021/22 campaign, posting a 37-16-1-0 record and advancing to the Interior Conference Final.
General Manager and Head Coach Simon Ferguson knows it is important to have the right people for the job, “In Junior hockey, it’s crucial to have hard working people who want to make your team better,” commented Ferguson, “Ayrton is someone who had worked extremely hard to get to this point and I look forward to continuing to work with him in an elevated position.”
“With Josh, he has been around the game his whole life and knows the BCHL well having played in the league for four seasons,” continued Ferguson, “He has a very strong work ethic and we look forward to having him help make our program even better.”
With the addition of Blanchard and promotion of Nikkel, the Warriors hockey operations department is as follows:
General Manager & Head Coach: Simon Ferguson
Assistant General Manager & Assistant Coach: Aryton Nikkel
Director of Player Development & Assistant Coach: Josh Gorges
Director of Scouting & Hockey Development: Josh Blanchard
Goaltending Coach: Chad Carder
Video Coach: Wyatt Head
Athletic Therapist: Mike Bois
Equipment Manager: Andrew Knopf
The Warriors (12-5-2-0) are back in action with a trip up north as they will get set for a weekend of games against the Prince George Spruce Kings (12-6-1-1) that begins on Friday night at the Kopar Memorial Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM on Friday with the game being broadcasted live on AM 1150 as well as streamed online on BCHLTV.ca.