June 15, 2023
By Brock Ormond
DUKES USING THEIR REACH TO HIRE FORMER BCHL HEAD COACH KENT LEWIS
The Wellington Dukes are ushering in a new era of pride and tradition with an experienced head coach.
The Dukes are proud to announce British Columbia Hockey League veteran Kent Lewis as their new bench boss effective immediately. Lewis will be the Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach.
A native of Powell River, BC, Lewis has spent more than 20 years behind benches of teams in the BCHL, including his hometown Paper Kings/Kings for two different stints, the Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Salsa (now Grizzlies) from 1990 to 2018.
Prior to his coaching career, the 56-year-old suited up as a player with Nanaimo and the former Esquimalt Buccaneers, along with the Victoria (now Prince George) Cougars of the WHL from 1982-87
Notable coaching achievements include;
Multiple “Coach of the Year” awards in the BCHL
A gold medal with team Canada West at the World Junior “A” Challenge
Allan Cup Championship, and a silver medal for Canada at the Nagano Cup.
A Junior hockey winning percentage of .629 in over a 1000 games at the Jr a level.
One of the leaders in advancing players on to the NCAA and Canadian Universities.
One of two coaches to have Captured 7 Conference Championships in BCHL history.
Nanaimo Clippers BCHL
Victoria Cougars WHL
Garnered MVP, Rookie of the Year and Inspirational awards from his time in Nanaimo
Kent says; “I look forward to overseeing and working with everyone in the Dukes program to give its fans and community something it can be proud of”.
Being in a new league, in a new province and with a full roster to build, Lewis will be closely working with general manager Todd Diminie to fill at least 16 spots following trades of several veteran players.
Diminie said he is looking forward to developing a close working relationship with Lewis. “Kent brings with him a unique opportunity to recruit players from areas that the OJHL traditionally was unable to reach.” He goes on to say” Kent is a highly respected coach in NCAA circles which will offer Wellington the opportunity to not only retain players that traditionally may have gone to the BCHL but potentially attract current BCHL players due to the recent changes in structure of the BCHL.”
Only a week into his tenure as GM, Diminie himself said he has been busy helping keep the rebuild rolling along and said he was excited to come on board after stints with the Cobourg Cougars and the former Bowmanville Eagles and Whitby Fury.
“With the history of the Wellington Dukes being one of the top junior hockey clubs across the country for many years, it was basically a no-brainer when owner Ken Clement asked me if I’d like to be the general manager in Wellington,” said Diminie. “I answered right away, yes.”
He added the organization, which is the owner of three Buckland Cup OJHL championships, will be coming back strong as ever.
“The Wellington Dukes are moving forward and excited to celebrate our 35th Anniversary this season, ” the GM continued. “It definitely is a rebuild, but with this news release of our new Head Coach, it’s going to be exciting times for Wellington and fans in Prince Edward County.”
Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson adds; I was excited to meet Kent Lewis who is now with the Wellington Dukes and we look forward to supporting him toward another winning season and we welcome him to Prince Edward County.
The coaching, scouting and training staff will be fully announced within the coming days.
The Dukes are planning on holding a prospects camp in July and more information will be available for that on the Dukes website. (Ages 16 to 19)
Keep checking the Dukes new website at wellingtondukes.com for the latest news