The Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association has hired former Kelowna Rockets major midget head coach James Eccles as its first-ever director of hockey development.
The deal was finalized at the RMMHA’s board of director’s meeting Monday night.
Eccles said he ecstatic for the opportunity to grow hockey in the region. He said his first goal will be reach out to members of the RMMHA.
“I want to get to know as many coaches as quickly as possible and make sure we have an open door policy so we can assist them in strengthening out hockey development,” he said.
Eccles said another goal will be to implement more off-ice programs starting this fall.
Eccles has ties to the area. He played his minor hockey in Abbotsford before heading to suit up with the Ridge Meadows Flames in 1996.
He said he’s excited to be able to bring his own family close to his parents and grandparents.
After junior B, Eccles played four seasons at Kent State University. From their he coached for three seasons in the NCAA at State University of New York.
He has also served as an assistant coach and director of scouting for the BCHL’s Westside Warriors in 2008-09.
Besides being the major midget coach for the Rockets, Eccles served as the lead instructor for Hockey Canada Skills Academy for Kelowna’s School District.
He starts work Monday, Aug. 19. Try-outs are slated to start Aug. 22.
Dan Herbranson, president of RMMHA, said they are looking forward to working with Eccles
“James has some challenges ahead, and these will not be achieved over night,” noted Herbranson. “However, with the dedication and desire James has already demonstrated, we feel we have the right man for the job.”