The Nelson Leafs only had to look down the bench to find their next head coach.
The team announced Wednesday that Adam DiBella has been promoted from assistant to head coach. DiBella joined the team in 2018 and later added assistant general manager to his duties.
DiBella said he’s looking forward to leading the team next season. The Leafs were three wins short of a KIJHL championship in March after losing to the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the Teck Cup following their best season in over a decade.
“It’s an honour,” said DiBella. “I’ve been very privileged to work with such amazing people in a great organization, and I look forward to continuing that into the future.”
DiBella, 29, previously played one season with Revelstoke before joining the Melville Millionaires in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for three seasons as a defenceman. He also played one season at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus.
“We feel that Adam has shown an immense amount of leadership over the past few years and we feel that he is ready to take on this role,” said the Leafs in a team statement.
He takes over for his father Mario DiBella, who retired in March after two tenures as Leafs head coach. General manager Lance Morey will also remain with the club.
Under Mario DiBella, Nelson made steady progress from a struggling team in 2015 to a championship contender.
Adam DiBella said he’s looking forward to making his own mark on the Leafs.
“I have a different coaching style and a different way of communicating with the players and I’m looking forward to honouring the team and my family name, but also continuing what I’ve been able to do over the last handful of years and creating my own pathway with Lance Morey and the players.”