Don Hay looking to tie WHL coaching record this weekend

By Matt Pouncy
January 24, 2018 - 4:59pm Updated: January 24, 2018 - 5:59pm

KAMLOOPS — Most coaches just want to have a winning record at the end of the season but Kamloops Blazers Coach Don Hay has an opportunity at history. 

Hay sits one win behind Ken Hodge for the WHL all-time coaching wins record. 

For Blazers Joe Gatenby and Jermaine Loewan, they know that they have a chance to be a part of something special.

"When I came to Kamloops you hear your playing for Don Hay, he's a pretty legendary coach," said Gatenby.  "I think for us the best way we can get the job done is really not to focus on the storylines and just try to focus on playing our best game but obviously that's a pretty exciting feat he can accomplish."

"You know he's a great coach and to see him set a milestone like that would be incredible because a lot of people didn't think that it was possible to catch that guy at the top," said Loewan.  "He's going to catch him, he's going to surpass him.  It would be a pretty special moment for him and I'd be pretty honored and I'm happy to be on his team that will see a record like that fall." 

With three games against the Portland Winterhawks this weekend, Hay has the chance to sit on top of the WHL coaching world. 

Over his nineteen year career he has also coached for the Tri-City Americans and led the Vancouver Giants to a Memorial Cup in 2007.

"I've been pretty lucky to have a long career, I've been really lucky to coach the players I've been coaching and to work with the organizations that I worked with.  The people, all of the support people, the assistant coaches, the managers, the trainers, everybody has been a big part of it," said Hay.  "You know I think it will be a relief to get all that over with and just move on and focus on games."

He knows that the record is close but Hay wants his team to be successful above anything.

"As a coach you don't get in coaching to set milestones or records, you just want to coach, you just want your team to play well and you want to have success.  I think that's what we are looking at as we move along here," said Hay. 

When the puck drops on Friday night Hay isn't the only coach looking to reach a milestone. 

Portland will be playing their franchise's 3000th game and Head Coach Mike Johnson is looking for his 300th career win.

Hay and Johnson do have some history as they were both a part of 1995 world juniors coaching staff and still keep in touch.

"He turned that franchise around, they went from losers to playing in Memorial Cup with him at the helm," said Hay.  "So he's done a real good job to get to 300 wins.  It will be a great milestone for him but I hope it doesn't happen this weekend."

For one or possibly both coaches a milestone could be reached starting this friday night at the Sandman Centre.   


Joe Gatenby is leading the way