Vernon Fiddler departs as Rockets assistant coach

Photo Credit: Marissa Baecker

Kelowna Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton announced today that assistant coach Vernon Fiddler will not be returning for the 2021-22 season, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

“I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to the Hamilton’s for providing me with a home within the Kelowna Rockets family,” said Fiddler. “I am grateful for the early years and the guidance they gave me to develop into a hockey player, which in turn earned me a successful playing career.  When offered the opportunity to coach with this organization I was both honoured and excited.”

During these two years as an assistant coach, I have developed and learned many valuable assets that will aid me in the future. But most importantly, I am so proud to have been a part of this group of players and staff that overcame the adversity of a pandemic to rise above.”

“At this time I am leaving my position with the Kelowna Rockets to take more time to be with my family. I wish the Kelowna Rockets and the Hamilton family all the best moving forward.”

Fiddler was named a Rockets assistant coach on July 3, 2019, after serving as an organizational coach with the Dallas and Texas Stars. His primary focus with Kelowna was the forward units and power play. The Rockets went 39-33-4-3 over the last two seasons.

“We’re certainly disappointed that he’s leaving, but we fully understand that he and his family want to move back to Texas,” said Hamilton. “We’re going to miss him and I know the players are really going to miss him, he has life experiences in the game that all of our players aspire to have. We were fortunate to have his upbeat and positive personality with us for two years.”

“Vern is a great story for today’s players, he’s earned everything that hockey has given him through hard work, perseverance and a great work ethic.”

Fiddler, who played 14 seasons as a forward in the NHL, played for the Rockets organization beginning in 1997-98 and ending in 2000-01.

The Rockets will look to fill the vacant assistant coaching position over the summer. Resumes can be emailed to—no phone calls, please.

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