Photo courtesy of: magazin.ceskenoviny.cz
The Prince George Cougars are very pleased to announce that they have hired former NHL forward Roman Vopat (Litvinov, Czech Republic) as an assistant coach.
The 38-year-old Vopat was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the seventh round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft and played 133 NHL games with St. Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. In 1996, he along with two teammates and two draft picks were traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Wayne Gretzky.
His 16-year professional hockey career also included stops in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. Before turning pro, Vopat spent parts of two seasons in the CHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Prince Albert Raiders.
After he retired from professional hockey, Vopat turned his attention to coaching. Most recently he served as the head coach of the Kimberly Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for half of the 2012-13 season and the entire 2011-12 season.
“I’m very excited and honored to be a part of the New Ice Age,” said Roman Vopat. “I am looking forward to working with such great people like: Todd Harkins, Mark Holick and Mike Hengen.”
Vopat adds, “This is my second dream come true. I have played in the National Hockey League and this is what I always wanted to do after I finished playing. This is a great opportunity for my family and I appreciate the chance that the new ownership group is giving me.”
“Roman and I go way back to our playing days, and he also played with my brother Brett for many years,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager, Todd Harkins. “He was a great teammate, cared about everyone in the room and played the game with passion.”
Harkins adds, “Roman joined us at Training Camp as a guest coach and impressed all of us with his excitement and professionalism and his past experience will be beneficial to all of our players that have a dream to play in the NHL. He’s well connected with teams and scouts in Europe, and that will serve us well down the road with the CHL Import Draft.”
“We’re pleased to add an individual of Roman’s caliber to our coaching staff,” said Prince George Cougars Head Coach Mark Holick. “He’s played at the highest level possible and knows what it takes to get there. His experience is going to be an asset to our organization moving forward.”
Vopat will be joined in Prince George by his wife Natalie and his two sons Brayden (nine) and Nicholas (seven).