Onwards and upwards.
For players or coaches talented enough to be part of the Western Hockey League, the opportunity to eventually move on to professional hockey is the goal of most and the lure of achieving that dream also exists for other team staff.
For the past 13 seasons, Ramandeep “Chico” Dhanjal has served as the Prince George Cougars’ equipment manager and on Friday the Cougars announced he was leaving the team to fill a similar position with the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League.
The Canucks are relocating their top farm team from Utica, N.Y., to Abbotsford for the 2021-22 season and have hired Dhanjal to oversee the equipment that allows the players to do their jobs on the ice.
Dhanjal is a veteran of close to 900 WHL regular season games, having joined the Cougars in 2008, after three seasons with the Humboldt Broncos, junior A team. He’s represented the Cougars twice as Team WHL equipment manager for the Canada Russia Series and has also worked with the national team program with the women’s under-18 and under-22 teams and men’s under-17 team.
“Firstly, I want to thank my wife and family for their support throughout my time with the Cougars. I also want to thank the Cougars’ ownership group who have treated me so well during my time in the Western Hockey League,” said Dhanjal, in a Cougars’ team release.
“I also have to thank Rick Brodsky and Dallas Thompson for taking a chance on me 13 years ago and bringing me to Prince George. I have worked with an amazing group of people during my time with the Cougars and my family and I loved living in Prince George. It’s such a diverse and welcoming community. We will miss it.”
Dhanjal is a graduate of the University of Saskachewan, in his hometown of Saskatoon, and holds degrees in kinesiology and psychology.
“We’re excited for Chico and his family for this opportunity to move up to the professional ranks,” said Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager/head coach “He was so passionate about the Cougars and was a tireless worker. He loved his job. No one deserves this more than him.”
In other Cougar news, Mike Mahies, the team’s athletic therapist, has earned an invitation to attend Hockey Canada’s U-18 national women’s team summer evaluation camp in Calgary, July 26-Aug. 3.
Three Cougar players – forwards Koehn Ziemmer, and Kyren Gronick and defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk – are among the 45 invited to Hockey Canada’ U-18 men’s summer camp, July 29-Aug. 4, also in Calgary.