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Jason Garneau returning to Prince George Spruce Kings’ bench as assistant head coach

He led North Central Bobcats to division title in shortened 2019-20 season
Jason Garneau - Spruce Kings 2015
Jason Garneau (left) seen on the bench as an assistant head coach of the Prince George Spruce Kings in 2015. (via Facebook/Chuck Chin Photography)

A familiar face is set to return to the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Jason Garneau has been rehired by the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) franchise as its new assistant head coach three years after leaving the club in 2016 following eight seasons behind the bench in the same position.

He just completed a banner-winning season with the North Central Midget AA Bobcats of the six-team Cariboo Hockey development program, claiming the Rural Division title after finishing second in the provincial-league standings.

The Bobcats posted a regular-season 20-game record of 9-8-3 under Garneau's leadership before winning its best-of-three divisional finals 2-1 over the East Kootenay Avalanche.

“I am obviously very familiar with Jason and know exactly what he can bring to the coaching staff,” said Kings’ General Manager Mike Hawes in a news release. 

“We are all excited that he is rejoining the team and looking forward to the experience and expertise he will provide to the staff and players.”

The change also comes as Colin Minardi leaves his assistant coaching post with Prince George.

He took over the job in October when Jessie Leung had stepped down for personal reasons, making Garneau the third assistant to Head Coach Alex Evin in one year.

However, Hawes says a second full-time assistant coach is expected to be hired before the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

“Colin was a huge asset for our team last season,” he said. 

“He came into a tough situation because he joined us part way throughout the year, but he was able to get up to speed quickly and really became a good support person for Alex and the players.”

Garneau is back with the Spruce Kings after a rebuilding year following its 2019 run to the Fred Page Cup, Doyle Cup and National Junior ‘A’ Championship final.

His Bobcats would’ve been playing for a provincial championship at this moment, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hockey Canada asked all of its affiliates, including BC Hockey, to cancel the season.