The Kelowna Rockets today announced that Head Coach JEFF TRUITT has resigned from the team in order to accept a coaching position with an, as yet, un-named professional organization.
Truitt joined the Rockets as an Assistant Coach to former Head Coach, Marc Habscheid, for the 2000-01 season and took over the head job himself at the start of the 2004-05 season.
During Jeff’s 7-year tenure in Kelowna, the Rockets participated in 3 consecutive Memorial Cups, capturing the title in 2004. Truitt led the club to the 2005 WHL Championship in his first year as Head Coach and, as an Assistant, was instrumental in the Rockets’ successful run to the 2003 WHL title.
“Jeff has been a great employee and an excellent coach for our organization,” said President and General Manager, Bruce Hamilton. “He came in here 7 years ago and, along with Marc (Habscheid), helped turn our culture into a winning one.”
“He’s a guy who comes to work every morning and gives everything he has. We’ll always have a lot of fond memories of Jeff’s time here. Our family thanks him from the bottom of our hearts for what he’s given this organization.”
“We’ll miss him and we wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to pro hockey,” continued Hamilton. “But, the team hiring him has had interest in him for a couple of years now. He’s been to 3 Memorial Cups, so there was not a lot more for him to accomplish at the WHL level.”
“He’s ready for a new challenge at the professional level.”
“Today is certainly a day of mixed emotions for me,” said Jeff. “On the one hand, I’m very excited to be moving up to the next level. It’s a great opportunity for me with a great team.”
“But, having been here for seven years and helping build something, it’s very emotional saying good-bye. Being a part of this organization has been a very special time in my life.”
“I’ve had a chance to coach some great players and quality young men in my time here. I can only thank them all for their co-operation and dedication over my seven years here.”
Hamilton doesn’t anticipate a long wait before naming Truitt’s successor behind the Rockets’ bench.
“We’re going to give it some time and go through the process to see who might be interested,” said Hamilton.
“We know we already have quality coaches and good people here (Assistants Ryan Huska and Kim Dillabaugh) in whom I have the utmost confidence. It will be interesting to see if any other serious candidates emerge in the next while.”