Maglio continues to climb coaching ladder

Former Spruce Kings bench boss says team in good hands with Evin as his replacement

Adam Maglio wasn’t hunting for a new job when the Spokane Chiefs asked him if he’d like join the WHL team as an associate coach.
Until then, he was quite to content to come back to Prince George and fulfill the new two-year BCHL contract he signed with the Spruce Kings this summer. But the lure of moving up to a junior hockey league that’s well established as a pipeline to the pros proved irresistible for the 33-year-old.
“I don’t want this move to undervalue what Prince George provided me for four years but I am very excited to move up here and also work with Manny (head coach Viveiros), that was a big selling feature,” said Maglio, reached in Calgary where he’s coaching at Hockey Canada’s under-17 development camp.
“He has a very diverse resume and has won multiple championships and I think he’s going to be a great mentor to help grow myself. (The WHL) is one of the best development leagues for players and coaches and that played a big part, too. Certainly I’m starting in a good spot as an associate coach on a team that’s supposed to do quite well, so there’s some pressure there. But at the same time I’ve jumped up a little bit quicker than I expected.”
After getting the Spruce Kings to their first-ever trip to the BCHL final two seasons ago, Maglio continued on the fast track this past season when they won the Fred Page Cup championship, followed by a Doyle Cup Pacific regional title and a berth in the final game at the national championship in Brooks, Alta.
He was all set to return for his third season as head coach when Chiefs’ general manager Scott Carter called him up. It wasn’t totally out of the blue. Carter, a former executive and managing partner of the Penticton Vees, has been monitoring the Spruce Kings’ rise into a BCHL powerhouse the past two seasons under Maglio and assistant coach Alex Evin, who on Friday was promoted to head coach of the Kings. Carter helped revive the Penticton BCHL franchise and was the Vees’ GM in 2007-08 when Evin was the starting goalie for the team’s BCHL championship season.
The Spokane coaching shuffle became a necessity when Dan Lambert was hired by the Nashville Predators and assistant Scott Burt was let go. When Lambert's replacement Viveiros and Carter got down to discussions on candidates for an assistant, Maglio’s name came up.
“They approached me, to be honest I didn’t send one resume out, and I wasn’t actively looking to move,” said Maglio. “I thought the body of work from the last two years and the success we had might find me something.
“I know Scott (Carter) respected what we did in Prince George because he knew the landscape of the league a little bit and we did have some mutual connections with NHL scouts and I think he was getting feedback from those guys. I want to learn the league and it’s important to get in a good spot to learn, to set myself up for those opportunities. I still want to be a head coach again, but it’s time. Time and experience in the league are going to add currency.”
It was no secret to the Spruce Kings’ organization Maglio had ambitions to move up the hockey ladder. In the heat of a magical 16-1 playoff run to their first BCHL championship in April, he went through the interview process with Hockey Canada and had to cram for a test while in the midst of trying to get his players ready for their next game. He must have aced it because it led to Maglio’s inclusion on the staff at the weeklong U-17 development camp, which started Friday. Maglio’s unrelenting work habits and progressive teaching tactics he showed in two seasons as the Kings assistant made him an obvious choice for Kings GM Mike Hawes, who promoted him as Chad Van Diemen’s replacement in 2016.
Twenty-eight WHL players, including seven first-rounders, were picked last month in the NHL draft. Eight BCHL players were chosen and Maglio had a hand in developing two of them - defenceman Layton Ahac, picked in the third round, 86th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights, and goalie Logan Neaton, the Winnipeg Jets fourth-round choice, 144th overall. While it’s becoming more common for junior A players to get drafted, leagues like the BCHL are looked upon more as the breeding ground for college hockey. That’s an adjustment Maglio will have to make.
“We had two NHL draft picks and in the Western League you’re not far off that, maybe a couple more, so I have experience with that those types of players, which will be helpful,” Maglio said. “It’s a business, for sure. The players are going on that pathway as the quickest way to pro, so there’s pressure on their end as well from an early age to succeed and reach their goal and they’re trying to do it younger.
“We were in a league where guys wanted to develop in junior but in the back of their minds they knew they had four years of college. This pathway is a lot quicker, your development happens from 16 to 19.”
Coming off a 40-25-2-1 season that ended with a third-round playoff defeat by the Vancouver Giants, the Chiefs could be one of the stronger WHL teams this year. The fact they’re part of the U.S. Division makes the deal even sweeter for Maglio, who will be getting paid in U.S. dollars while based in Spokane, a city just 2 ½ hours south of his Nelson hometown, which will make it a lot easier for his parents to visit during the season. His girlfriend, Laluca Bumbac, will have to make a two-stop flight from Vancouver, a 6 1/2-hour drive away.
“The U.S. Division is certainly one that I targeted as one of the spots I’d want to be,” said Maglio. “Spokane was third in attendance in the league (averaging 5,959 per game), they have a phenomenal facility, and the travel is significantly less.”
That wouldn’t be hard, considering the Spruce Kings’ closest opponents are in Merritt, seven hours away. Despite that splendid isolation, Maglio loved his four-year stint in Prince George and was appreciative of the opportunity to work with Hawes and Evin and the rabid support Kings’ fans provided.
“I can’t thank the organization enough, they provided us as coaches with everything we could want, the players were treated very well and everything they do is first class,” said Maglio. “I got to work with Alex and Mike, high-character people, and I’ll miss the relationships and the city of Prince George. That playoff run with the sold-out crowds and the fans, it was unbelievable. It was pretty special.”
He says the Kings are in good hands with his good friend Evin taking over the team.
“I think the players we recruited this coming year are great, high-character kids and good players and I was looking forward to working with them,” he said. “Obviously with Alex going in there now, in my opinion, they’re going to continue to have equal success.
“He probably won’t change too, too much. He was a big part in our success too. A lot of his strengths played on my weaknesses. He’s poised and calm and he’s really organized. It seems like there’s no task too big for him, he just plugs away and gets stuff done. He’s got a lot of ties and he’s a very good recruiter.”
Maglio, a former junior B defenceman who went on to play for New York State University and UBC, will have jurisdiction over the Chiefs defencemen and the penalty kill, similar to his teaching role in Kings practices.
The Chiefs will be in Prince George to face the Cougars, Oct. 18 and 19 at CN Centre, the only trip for Maglio back to his stomping grounds during the season.

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