CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in conjunction with the NHL Coaches’ Association, announced Wednesday that Billy McGuigan of the Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) has been named the 2019-20 recipient of the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of CJHL Coach of the Year.
McGuigan earned the recognition following a national voting process completed by each of the 10 member leagues that comprise the CJHL over fellow Coach of the Year Award finalists Tyler Deis, Okotoks Oilers (AJHL); Jason Fortier, Coquitlam Express (BCHL); Jason Clarke, Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL); Kelvin Cech, Winkler Flyers (MJHL) and Brayden Klimosko, Battlefords North Stars (SJHL).
It is awarded annually by the CJHL and NHLCA, and is in memory of Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant Mark Cross, who were among those who sadly lost their lives following the tragic events of April 6, 2018.
This year’s honour will be formally presented during the NHLCA Online Global Coaches’ Clinic, details of which are being announced on May 4, 2020.
McGuigan and his entire coaching staff will be invited, as honourary guests, to take part in the upcoming online NHLCA Global Coaches’ Clinic.
Additionally, the Western Capitals will be recognized with a CAD $5,000 contribution to their team on behalf of the NHLCA, as well as a donation from Bauer Hockey of CAD $5,000 worth of equipment.
“Community hockey coaches are vitally important to the development and growth of today’s young hockey talent, both on the ice and in their communities,” said Mike Hirshfeld, Executive Director of the NHLCA.
“We are proud to support the NHLCA and CJHL’s Coach of the Year award as we are steadfast in our joint commitment to support these leaders, role models and mentors that give so much to our hockey community,” added Ed Kinnaly, CEO of Bauer Hockey.
McGuigan, a Charlottetown, P.E.I., product, led the Western Capitals to the best record in the 12-team MHL this season with an impressive 42-7-1-2 and went on to be selected his league’s Coach of the Year for a second time, matching the accolades he earned back in 2012-13.
He also saw his Summerside squad tabbed second in the final CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings for the campaign.
The veteran coach has served as the Western Capitals bench boss for each of the last six seasons and has worked in the MHL during each of the previous 11 years.
Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award – CJHL Coach of the Year recipients
2019–20: Billy McGuigan, Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
2018–19: Blake Spiller, Portage Terriers (MJHL)
With files from: James Faulkner, Director of Communications (MHL)
About the NHL Coaches’ Association (NHLCA)
The NHL Coaches’ Association is a professional organization that provides support and assistance to the head, associate, assistant, and specialty coaches of the 31 teams in the National Hockey League. Recognized and supported by the NHL, the NHLCA and its members seek to develop future coaches, give back to the hockey community, and grow the game of hockey globally. One of the Association’s primary objectives is to help develop all hockey coaches from the youth level up to the highest levels of hockey as the NHLCA strongly believes that coaches are important leaders within their communities, serving as role models at every level of the game. Together, the NHLCA and their members are committed to supporting all coaches in their initiatives of guiding, motivating, and inspiring players of all ages.
Photo credit: Summerside Western Capitals/MHL