The Nelson Leafs have found their new bench boss.
Social media has been buzzing that Matt Hughes was set to become the new coach and general manager of the Leafs.
“It’s true,” said Hughes when contacted on the phone by the Star today.
Hughes said he has been involved in hockey his whole life. After growing up playing hockey in Kamloops, he went on to play junior in Penticton and even played professionally in Europe for a few years.
He started coaching the sport 11 years ago at the age of 23.
The 34-year-old is looking forward to his newest challenge. “This is a great opportunity to come in and continue on the great job they’ve been doing here and hopefully continue to see some success.”
Hughes comes to the Leafs after leaving his position as coach and general manager of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Grande Prairie Storm.
“I was looking to get back into BC and I happened upon the fact that the Nelson job was open by pure fluke.”
He saw the notice on the internet. Hughes said he knows a few people in Nelson so he sent in his resume.
“It progressed from there.”
While he doesn’t know a lot about the local squad, Hughes knows enough.
“I know they were very good last year. They had a very good season. I’m working on getting in touch with the potential returning players. Nelson is a premier franchise in the KIJHL.”
Hughes is currently looking for a home in Nelson. He is busy packing up his home in Grand Prairie. “The sooner I get there (Nelson) the better. I want to try and get down and get situated and meet some people.”
Hughes replaces former Leafs coach and GM Frank Maida who left the team after the season ended.