EVERETT, Wash. — In search of a new head coach, the Everett Silvertips decided to pluck the best one on offer from the junior A ranks.
Everett made it official Wednesday afternoon as the Tips announced hugely successful junior A coach Mark Ferner as their new head coach.
Ferner, whose name first surfaced during rumours Tuesday, was introduced to Everett during a press conference at the Events Center.
“I’m extremely honored and proud to be a part of this organization,” Ferner said. “Knowing Doug (Soetaert, Everett’s general manager) and the scouting staff, and knowing everything about the city and the arena and the fans, I knew this was right.”
Ferner, a 45-year-old originally from Regina, inked a three-year contract with the Tips. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Ferner brings a resume of nearly unmatched success at the junior A level, which consists of the same age of players as the WHL but is one level lower. The past four seasons, as general manager and head coach of the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League, he compiled a 165-51-7-17 record and won three BCHL championships. He also guided Vernon to the championships game of the RBC Cup — the junior A equivalent of the Memorial Cup — each of the past three years, winning the title in 2009 and 2010.
Ferner also has experience as a head coach in the WHL, spending parts of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons guiding the Kamloops Blazers. He had a 35-41-6-2 record while in charge of the Blazers.
Ferner succeeds Craig Hartsburg, who stepped down after two seasons in Everett to become the associate head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
“He was one of the top guys on the list right from the beginning,” Soetaert said of Ferner.
“I was the one who contacted Mark, knowing in advance that Craig was thinking about leaving,” Soetaert added. “I put a feeler out just to see if there was intereste because he’s been a hard worker, he’s had very good success (with Vernon) and his teams play hard. I saw his team play last year and they played very similar systems to what we play. His team really followed the rules of what he laid down and that’s why they were so competitive.”
Ferner also had a long playing career. After spending 1982-85 in the WHL with Kamloops, he embarked on a 16-year professional career as a defenceman, including parts of six different seasons in the NHL with Buffalo, Washington, Anaheim and Detroit. In 94 NHL games he had three goals and 10 assists.