When former BCHL player Ty Valin saw that the Fernie Ghostriders were looking to hire a new head coach-GM, he knew he had to apply.

“Opportunities come along and you have to jump at them when they are there,” he says. “When you do, you have to embrace them. You have to take full advantage of it.”

Valin says players come to the KIJHL to move on. It’s the same for coaches. After having played in B.C. Valin says it’s an amazing province and its hockey is great, having two marquee leagues in the BCHL and KIJHL.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for me,” says Valin, a former defenceman who played for the Vernon Vipers and won a Royal Bank Cup with them in the late 90s. “The league has got a very good reputation. A very good history behind it and I’m excited to be a part of that as well.”

It means a lot to Valin to join the Ghostriders as he thanked the organization for hiring him.

“It’s a very historic organization. They pride themselves on being a very community-oriented team,” says Valin, who played in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. “For me, those are some very big things as a person and as a coach.”

Valin joins the Ghostriders after being an assistant coach in the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season with the Whitecourt Wolverines. He worked with the defenceman as well as doing video and recruited and scouted teams, giving him good experience. A few of the players on the Wolverines were familiar to Valin, as they played for him when he was the head coach of the Fort Saskatchewan U18AAA Rangers over three seasons in the Alberta Elite Hockey League.

Valin, 40, prides himself on treating players with respect and building relationships with them.

Valin, who spent time in the B.C. Hockey League with the Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings, says his teams play a fast-paced style with a focus on being first to pucks.

“We want to push the pace of the game all night long,” he says. “We want to be tight defensively. I believe that defence is a huge part of success and I was taught that all the way through my career.”

Valin looks to meet the expectations from the amazing work he feels Jeff Wagner did, which eventually led to him joining the Coquitlam Express.

“It’s going to be fun,” says Valin, a father of two. “I understand they have a very good fan base – a very passionate fan base. It’s going to be amazing.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges and getting the season going,” continued Valin, who looks forward to getting familiar with the community.