The Merritt Centennials announced today that the contract of general manager and head coach Derek Sweet-Coulter won’t be renewed for the 2021-22 BC Hockey League season.
The Centennials will begin the process of evaluating candidates and selecting a head coach for next season starting Monday, May 17.
“This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is time for a new direction and leadership,” said Centennials director of hockey operations John Stuart in a news release. “Derek is a great person and we appreciate all his hard work and dedication to the club. We are grateful for all he has done here in Merritt these last two seasons and wish him the best of luck in his future. We will start the process of looking for a new head coach immediately.”
Sweet-Coulter has spent the past two years with the Cents. He served as an assistant coach and assistant GM to Barry Wolff to start the 2019-20 season.
He was promoted to interim head coach when the Centennials let Wolff go on Oct. 16, 2019, after getting off to a 2-9-0 start. One month later, the club removed the interim tag from Sweet-Coulter and he finished the season with a 12-31-1-3 record.
The 38-year-old and the Centennials agreed on a contract extension for this past season in March of 2020. Merritt went 2-5 in the exhibition season last fall in cohort games against Prince George, Trail, and Cranbrook.
Against the Spruce Kings and Chilliwack Chiefs during the 2020-21 pod season, the Centennials finished with a record of 3-17, last among the 16 teams participating. Merritt was the third-lowest scoring team and allowed the third-most goals against.
Sweet-Coulter leaves the Centennials with an overall record of 15-48-1-3 in 67 games as head coach.