Brent Sutter had no choice regarding the decision he announced on Wednesday — he had to separate the business side of being a Western Hockey League general manager from the personal side of the position.

Sutter staying on with Rebels

Timing is everything, and now was not the time for Brent Sutter to leave his dual post as GM/head coach of the Red Deer Rebels. Sutter announced Thursday that he’s removed the interim tag from his two-pronged position and will stay on as the GM/bench boss of his WHL club for the 2013-14 season.

Timing is everything, and now was not the time for Brent Sutter to leave his dual post as GM/head coach of the Red Deer Rebels.

Sutter announced Thursday that he’s removed the interim tag from his two-pronged position and will stay on as the GM/bench boss of his WHL club for the 2013-14 season.

Determined to forge a new identity for his team, the Rebels owner and president felt he couldn’t move away from the bench at this time.

“I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate what we have here since November (when he replaced Jesse Wallin as head coach) and determine the direction we want to go and need to go, not just on the ice but off the ice, too,” said Sutter.

“There needed to be change here and we’ve started implementing it. From talking to Jeff (associate coach Truitt), our front-office staff and even the players during our exit meetings . . . the right thing for me to do was return as head coach.”

Sutter wants more size and grit on his squad and has directed his scouting staff to identify those types of players. In short, he’s hoping to build a team that’s difficult to play against while being a club that’s in the mix on a regular basis.

“The most important thing is your culture. Any coaches, players or other personnel that come into the organization, they come to the culture, the culture doesn’t go to them,” said Sutter. “There’s a certain way we want this team to play and a certain way we want to do things.

“I’m not saying that what was done in the past was wrong, but we needed change. We made change and now we have to follow through on it and it just doesn’t happen overnight. We have some good prospects and we have to develop them the right way and when they’re ready we have to make room for them and we have to have the right team around them for them to progress and the team to progress.”

Meanwhile, Truitt has signed a multi-year deal to remain with the team as an associate coach and Sutter has hired a new assistant coach in Steve O’Rourke, who was formerly an assistant with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL.

O’Rourke has also served as the GM/head coach of the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL and last winter was the head coach of the bantam AAA team at the Okanagan Academy in Penticton, B.C. He played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Moose Jaw Warriors before attending the University of Lethbridge.

“With Steve, we’re adding someone with experience and knowledge. He’s going to be a great fit here for us,” said Sutter. “With my situation, being GM as well as head coach, it’s going to be tough to be on the ice every day (for practice). It can be very taxing, so I’ve surrounded myself with good people. Having Jeff back and adding Steve to our staff is a big bonus. Coaching is going to be a team effort.”

Equipment manager Dave ‘Radar’ Horning, who’s been with the club since 1995, has also inked a multi-year contract extension, and the Rebels have hired Jordan Aube to replace outgoing athletic therapist Terence Robertson. Aube is a former trainer at the University of Manitoba and has also worked with the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Also returning for the 2013-14 WHL season are strength and conditioning coach Al Parada; goaltending consultant Brent Belecki; video coordinator Craig Kinney; mental performance consultant Derek Robinson; assistant to the GM Davis Claffey; and dressing room attendent Mikel McIver.

“We have a staff here who can provide everything we possibly can for our players for them to succeed and by the same token allow our team to get better,” said Sutter.

Just Posted

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire… Continue reading

Former journalist pleads guilty to robbing two banks in Medicine Hat

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former journalist arrested almost two years ago… Continue reading

Austria fears for three top climbers missing in Banff National Park

BERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with… Continue reading

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle’s Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

VANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana… Continue reading

All eyes on the surging Greens as Prince Edward Island goes to the polls

After a brief provincial election campaign devoid of drama, voters on Prince… Continue reading

North Dakota company where 4 were slain seeks normalcy

MANDAN, N.D. — Camaraderie was so important for the “coffee club” at… Continue reading

Trump blasts ex-advisers who say he tried to stop Mueller

WASHINGTON — A day after celebrating the release of the Mueller report… Continue reading

Sanders claims she didn’t lie, despite Mueller finding

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders pushed back Friday against… Continue reading

Most Read