The Spokane Chiefs have finalized their coaching staff with the hire of former NHL defenseman Jamie Huscroft as assistant coach. Huscroft will join the Chiefs new head coach, Al Conroy, on the bench this season. Conroy was named to his post on June 4th.
Huscroft replaces Bill Peters, the Chiefs assistant for the past three years who has recently accepted a position with the University of Lethbridge.
“After retiring I knew there was a point where I wanted to get back in the game and be on the other side of the bench, but it had to be the right opportunity,” Huscroft said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Spokane is that opportunity.”
“Every person we talked with about Jamie said he was one of the hardest working players on the team. His experiences will be very valuable to the players here and to me as well. Jamie will be a great resource for the players but even more importantly he is a quality person that the players can relate to,” Conroy stated.
Huscroft is a former WHL player who played for Portland, Seattle and Medicine Hat from 1983-87 accumulating 914 penalty minutes in 233 career games. The Creston, BC native was a ninth round selection (171st overall)by the New Jersey Devils in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
Following his junior career, Huscroft played in the Devils chain for two seasons before making his NHL debut in New Jersey in the 1988-89 season.
Huscroft was a member of the Devils organization going between the big club and Utica of the AHL through the 1992 season. Prior to the 1992-93 season, Huscroft signed a free-agent contract with Boston and remained a Bruin through the 1995 season.
In 1995-96, Huscroft played a career high 70 games and posted a career high 162 penalty minutes with the Calgary Flames. After a pair of seasons in Calgary, Huscroft was moved from Calgary to Tampa Bay, to Vancouver and Phoenix before ending his 14-year professional career in the Washington Capitals chain.
“Jamie has been through all situations as a player. He was never able to take a game off and had to battle everyday day in practice to keep his position in the NHL. He has played for a wide range of coaches and learned a little from each. I am very excited for the opportunity to work with Jamie and the Chiefs have added a character based person to the staff,” Conroy finished.
Overall, Huscroft appeared in 352 career NHL games scoring five goals, 37 points and amassing 1,065 penalty minutes.
Prior to accepting the Chiefs post Huscroft was the Director of Hockey Operations for the Sno-King Hockey Association in Seattle. During his tenure, Huscroft educated and trained coaches for the task of developing five to 17-year-old hockey players as well as implemented long and short term strategies for the association.
“The Chiefs are thrilled to be able to add Jamie to our coaching staff. His character, leadership ability and experience will be invaluable for Al and the hockey club,” Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.
“I’m really looking forward to the chance to work with kids with top-end talent and mold them, not only as players, but as people also,” Huscroft finished.
Dennis Sproxton, the Chiefs Goaltending Consultant, will return in his same capacity this year. The Red Deer, AB native will attend training camp from August 30th through September 1st and provide instruction to the Chiefs goaltenders on several visits through the season. Sproxton was the Chiefs Goaltending Consultant last season when Barry Brust was named the Western Conference Goaltender of the Year after setting franchise records for goals against and save percentage.
The Chiefs have also announced that Darcy Bishop will return as the teams Athletic Therapist/Strength Coach. Bishop, originally from Calgary, AB, will be serving his role for the second year.
Huscroft will be on hand as the Chiefs open their training camp on Friday, August 30th at the Spokane Arena. The Chiefs will open the 2002-2003 season on Saturday, September 21st at Tri-City and return to the Arena on Saturday, September 28th to open the home portion of the schedule, also versus Tri-City.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 209
Drafted: New Jersey Devils, 9th round (171st overall), 1985 NHL Entry Draft.