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Centennials hire Chyzowski as general manager and head coach


The Merritt Centennials have hired Dave Chyzowski as their new general manager and head coach, signing the Edmonton, AB product on Friday to a two-year contract through the 2022-23 season plus an option for 2023-24.

The 49-year-old Chyzowski joins the Cents after spending the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach for the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. He also spent that season as head coach of the Delta Hockey Academy female prep team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League. Chyzowski was also DHA’s director of sales.

“We had over 40 applicants for (the) head coaching position with some very qualified coaches applying. As a committee we took our time and due diligence on what we wanted in selecting a head coach,” said Centennials director of hockey operations John Stuart in a news release. “We are absolutely thrilled with the hiring of Dave Chyzowski. His knowledge and experiences in hockey, his knowledge of how to deal with teenage boys on pursuing their dream (are) something we truly value as an organization.”

Prior to joining the Giants in 2019-20, Chyzowski spent 14 seasons in the Kamloops Blazers organization. A number of his years spent with the Blazers were in the role of director of sales and marketing.

After being selected second overall by the New York Islanders in the 1989 NHL Draft, Chyzowski had an 18-year playing career. He played 126 career NHL games with the Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks.

Chyzowski’s career also took him through the American Hockey League, International Hockey League, Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany, and former Erste Bank Eishockey Liga in Austria.

“I love small towns, I believe teams in small towns are closer than teams in other towns,” said Chyzowski. One of the biggest things hockey players go through is that everyone has ups and downs. I’ve gone through everything these players are going through. It’s easy to forget that these are teenagers when they have their helmets on and are crashing around the ice. I want to help them grow as individuals and hockey players. I’m excited to be a part of the team, a part of the organization, and helping to grow both to their full potential.”

Chyzowski succeeds Derek Sweet-Coulter as Centennials GM and head coach. The latter took over in October 2019 on an interim basis in March after the Cents fired Barry Wolff. One month later, the club removed the interim tag from Sweet-Coulter and he finished the season with a 12-31-1-3 record.

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.