Josh MacNiven has been added to the Kelowna Rockets coaching staff

Rockets hire new assistant

The Kelowna Rockets didn't have to go far to find a replacement for assistant coach Vern Fiddler.

The Rockets announced Tuesday they have hired 44-year-old Josh MacNiven as the club's new assistant coach.

The native of Calgary has spent the past six seasons as an assistant with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

"We are excited to add Josh to our coaching staff," said Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton.

"He will bring a new perspective to our existing staff, I believe change and new ideas are very valuable for our team. We look forward to Josh and his family getting settled in Kelowna."

MacNiven is familiar with the Okanagan, having spent two seasons playing with Vernon in the BCHL in the mid 90s.

He spent four years in college before playing professionally in the American and East Coast hockey leagues and in Europe.

He spent a year coaching at the University of Lethbridge before joining the Hurricanes.

"I want to thank Bruce, Kris Mallette and the Hamilton family for this opportunity," said MacNevin.

"I'm extremely excited to be a part of the Rockets organization with everything that they've accomplished, they're one of the most storied franchises in the Western Hockey League. I'm over the moon about getting the chance to become a part of that history with Kris.

"I'm excited to bring with me what I've learned while in Lethbridge and apply it to the Rockets.

Mallette says he believes MacNiven's international experience allows him to see the game differently.

"He was an offensive-minded defenceman, and I think that will complement the vision that I'm trying to instill into our group, regardless of position," said Mallette.

"I know in speaking with him that he has a bright mind, he's very eager to learn and has a lot to offer. Everyone that we have spoken to, who has worked with him has had nothing but positive reviews and great things to say about Josh."

MacNiven was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1996, but never played a game in the NHL.

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