The Fernie Ghostriders have announced the hiring of Tal Klaudt as the team’s new Assistant Coach/Assistant GM. Klaudt replaces Justin Peers from the 2018-19 season and joins Head Coach/GM Jeff Wagner in the operations of the team.
Wagner is excited about the addition to the team, but addresses that changes are never an easy decision. “Firstly, I’d like to thank Justin for his work with the team last season. He has a high level of character and brought an energy that made coming to the rink enjoyable every day.”
Klaudt comes to the Ghostriders following his 4th season of coaching, most recently as the Associate Coach for the Bantam AAA Calgary NW Flames. The 26 year-old Mount Royal University Business Student says he’s excited to join a team with such a rich history: “The history and prestige of this organization is apparent in the hockey world. It is exciting to be joining a team with such a great culture and framework. I’m excited and privileged to have been selected to coach and mentor the young men and athletes that call Fernie home. I look forward to beginning the season and helping set a standard of excellence.”
Wagner is excited for the changes Klaudt will bring to the organization. “Tal is a bright young man with a driven mindset to learn and grow as a coach. After assessing last season, we felt that bringing in more experience was an integral part in moving this program in the direction we envision. We wanted to improve our skills development program for our players, upgrade our social media presence and be more attentive to our goaltenders. Tal checked off all these boxes from his experience in coaching and working with programs such as STIX and Global in Calgary.”
An additional change to the Riders staff sees Thomas Skelton becoming the new goaltending coach of the team. Skelton, 31, resides in Elkford, BC. Before coming to the Elk Valley, Skelton played junior hockey in Saskatchewan, as well as one year in the CIS for the University of Regina Cougars. Skelton also has coaching experience, acting as a goaltending consultant for the University of Oregon ACHA hockey club, as well as previously holding the position of Associate Coach of the Cheyenne Stampede of the WSHL. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the staff of the Ghostriders” said Skelton. “Speaking with Jeff, I could see his vision for where he wants to take this team, and I hope I can contribute a small part to that overall vision.
Wagner is excited about rounding out his staff. “Going into 2019-2020 season we felt it was very important to address our goaltenders. Last year we brought in Phil Spanswick from Calgary who did a fantastic job with our goalies. However, because of his proximity to the team, it limited the amount of goalie specific development we did. In speaking with Thomas, it became apparent that his experience would create an additional layer of support for our team. He also brings a background that has an emphasis on analytics, which is a direction that the game is going in.”
Klaudt and Skelton also join Jered Neufeld who is returning for his second as an assistant coach for the Riders. Wagner expressed his appreciation for what Neufeld brings to the table. “Jered and I have a great relationship that allows for open conversation and promotes pushing the envelope. Our visions and values align and it makes for a very beneficial outcome for our players.“
The Ghostriders Main Camp will be Aug 23-25, 2019 at the Fernie Memorial Arena and is open to the public. The Regular Season begins September 13th, 2019.