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Friday , 22 October 2021
Derek Hemsley is hired as the Bonnyville Pontiacs assistant coach.

Bonnyville Pontiacs hire Hemsley as new assistant coach

The Bonnyville Pontiacs are thrilled to announce the hiring of a new assistant coach.

Derek Hemsley, a young coach from the Maple Leaf Athletic Club U18 AAA in northeast Edmonton, is officially a Bonnyville Pontiac and replaces the outgoing T.J. Millar, who was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in August.

“I’m very humbled and excited to be a Bonnyville Pontiac and to be part of the organization,” said Hemsley.

“I had the opportunity to work with Rick [Swan] through Hockey Alberta programs, and this summer to be immersed in the culture of the Pontiacs–it’s a good fit and a great place to land.” said Hemsley. “I look forward to working with Rick and the entire Pontiacs staff.”

Hemsley has worked in elite minor hockey for the past several years. He’s been a head coach in the Hockey Edmonton system with the KC Pats U18AAA and Maple Leaf Athletic Club U18AAA, while coaching four years of U15 and U16 in Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park.

In 2018-19, Hemsley also was an assistant coach with the Northern Alberta X-treme U15 Prep team.

The Yukon native has a degree from Mount Royal University in Sports and Recreation and is currently taking his masters in Coaching and Athletics Administration.

The certified skills and goalie coach also runs his own business called Hems Hockey.

The outgoing Volleyball Alberta manager of Age Class and Camps for 11 years is now set to join the Pontiacs, which coach and general manager Rick Swan is excited for.

Plus, he’s no stranger to the Lakeland area, having played Junior B hockey in Cold Lake and Saddle Lake.

“We had a lot of interest from some outstanding applicants for our assistant coach position. T.J. Millar’s departure to the Toronto Maple Leafs left a very high standard and legacy and we felt that the group involved in our search was top drawer,” said Swan.

“After a thorough process we are extremely excited to work with and bring Derek Hensley Into the Bonnyville Pontiacs organization.

Swan feels that Hemsley is a professional and highly detailed, with good character and competency.

“He certainly checked off all our boxes with respect to his positive attitude, his experience as a coach, goaltender and skills background, his willingness to learn and contribute, his integrity, and most importantly, he is a great human being who will transition with our day-to-day staff immediately,” said Swan.

“He has a bright hockey mind and an excellent communicator and are all looking forward to getting Derek into Bonnyville to immerse him into our culture and help our organization continue to grow in the right direction.”

All Bonnyville Pontiacs games are broadcast on Lakeland Connect. The Yaks are home Friday and Saturday night against the Whitecourt Wolverines. Puck drop is at 7:00pm for both games.

Upcoming Games:

  • Friday, September 24 | Home vs Whitecourt Wolverines
  • Saturday, September 25 | Home vs Whitecourt Wolverines
  • Tuesday, September 28 | Away vs Fort McMurray Oil Barons
  • Saturday, October 2 | Vs Blackfalds Bulldogs | AJHL Showcase
  • Sunday, October 3 | Vs Olds Grizzlys | AJHL Showcase

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.