Blazers’ coach Don Hay sets WHL record for coaching victories
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that Kamloops Blazers Head Coach Don Hay has established a new WHL record for regular season wins with 743, surpassing the previous mark of 742 set by Ken Hodge, former coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Portland Winterhawks.
Hay, 63, established the new WHL record with a 4-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, January 27, 2018, after tying Hodge’s mark of 742 on January 26, 2018, in a 5-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks.
“On behalf of the WHL and our member Clubs, I would like to extend our congratulations to Don Hay on becoming the winningest coach in WHL history,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Setting a record of this kind is not only a remarkable achievement but serves to highlight what an incredible career Don has had to this point and the success his teams have enjoyed under his leadership.”
It took Hodge 22 seasons and 1,411 games to establish the previous mark of 742 wins. Hay surpassed that in just 19 seasons and 1,341 games.
In his 19th season as a WHL Head Coach, Hay – a product of Kamloops, B.C. – has spent seven seasons behind the bench over two stints (1992-93 to 1994-95; 2014-15 to present) with his hometown Blazers. In addition to his time in Kamloops, Hay spent two seasons with the Tri-City Americans (1998-99 and 1999-00) followed by another 10 seasons with the Vancouver Giants (2004-05 to 2013-14).
During the 2016-17 WHL Regular Season, Hay became only the second coach in WHL history to reach the 700-win plateau. He entered the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season with 720 wins to his name, needing 23 to establish a new WHL record.
Hay’s success in the WHL and Canadian Hockey League has gone unparalleled. He has been behind the bench for three Mastercard Memorial Cup titles as head coach (1994, 1995, 2007) and another as an assistant coach (1992). He crafted WHL Championship teams on three occasions (1994, 1995, 2006) and was also on staff as an assistant coach for the Kamloops Blazers WHL Championship run in 1992.
Over 19 WHL seasons, Hay has hung banners everywhere he has coached, including five B.C. Division titles (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10), two West Division crowns (1993-94, 1994-95), and two WHL Regular Season titles (1993-94, 1994-95).
Under Hay’s direction, the Vancouver Giants made back-to-back appearances in the WHL Championship (2006 and 2007), lifting the Ed Chynoweth Cup with a 4-0 sweep of the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2006. He was also presented with the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as WHL Coach of the Year during the 2008-09 WHL season, leading the Giants to a record of 57-10-2-3.
Hay’s time with the Tri-City Americans was highlighted with hardware, as he was recognized as the WHL Coach of the Year and WHL Executive of the Year during the 1998-99 season.
Outside the WHL, Hay has experienced tremendous success on the international stage, having coached Canada to gold medal performances at the 1995 IIHF World Junior Championship and 2013 IIHF U-18 World Championship. His travels also extended to the professional ranks, where he spent four seasons (1995-96 to 1997-98, 2000-01) in the National Hockey League between the Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks, as well as three seasons (2001-02 to 2003-04) in the American Hockey League with the Utah Grizzlies.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.