KAMLOOPS — When Don Hay began his head coaching career in Kamloops in 1992, he never could've imagined what is coming Friday night, a celebration of his distinguished title as winningest coach in Western Hockey League history.
"It's something I'm very proud of," said Hay. "Very proud of all the people I've worked with. It's a real team milestone. A lot of people involved in it. A lot of assistant coaches, support staff, trainers, and management people. General managers and owners."
Hay will be recognized before Friday's game against Kelowna for reaching 743 wins. The fact the celebration is in his hometown makes it that much more special.
"It means a lot, having grown up here in Kamloops, playing junior hockey here with the old Kamloops Rockets, having played in the Western Hockey League as an 18, 19 year old. Having my son [Darrell Hay] play in the Western Hockey League. It means a lot," noted Hay.
Leading into Friday's celebration, Hay penned a letter to his coaching staff, past and present, players, and management for ultimately helping him reach this milestone.
"On a milestone like this, you can't thank everyone, [but] you want to thank everybody," he said. "I thought the letter would be able to reach a lot of different people. I've coached three different organizations: Kamloops, Tri-City, and Vancouver. The milestone took place in a lot of different areas along the journey to the end result. I just wanted to reach out to everybody that has been apart of it."
A Letter from Head Coach Don Hay thanking all those involved to help him become the Winningest Coach in WHL History. The Blazers will honour their Head Coach tomorrow night prior to their home game against Kelowna, https://t.co/kwdqRCZzUR #kamloops Photo; @ADouglasPhotos pic.twitter.com/POlMFPR1SP
— Kamloops Blazers (@blazerhockey) February 16, 2018
In the letter, Hay acknowledged the role his family has played. He said they sacrificed a lot over his three decades of coaching, which includes his six years as assistant coach under Ken Hitchcock and Tom Renney. Hay noted as many family as possible will be on the ice for the honouring.
"They've sacrificed a lot. In the hockey business, wives and family sacrifice. Missing a lot of birthdays and anniversaries and special days that normal families have, but they've been very supportive and very proud."
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