Friday, June 17, 2016

Winterhawks Hire New Assistant Oliver David

The Portland Winterhawks announced yesterday that they had hired Oliver David as an Assistant Coach to join head coach, general manager and vice president Mike Johnston, as well as, associate coach Kyle Gustafson on the bench.

David was hired to the position left vacant by former assistant Keith McKittrick, after that coach ran into some legal trouble associated with him being arrested for a Portand-area domestic violence incident.

David, 37, spent the last three seasons as an assistant with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the NAHL's Kenai River Brown Bears, where he turned around a struggling franchise (sound familiar?). He was originally hired as an assistant with Kenai River and took over partway through the 2009/10 season. After the team had struggled to 12 and 14 win seasons, David got them to 27, 31 and 29 win seasons from 2010/11 to 2012/13. Interestingly enough, David had just signed an extension with Kenai River in 2013, before stepping down and taking the assistant job with Dubuque.

Before he went to Alaska to coach in the NAHL, David spent three seasons as an assistant with the L.A. Selects and before that two with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and two more back in 2003/04 and 04/05 with the California Wave Hockey Club.

In looking at his twitter page, it seems obvious that his former players and colleagues have a lot of love for him, with countless tweets expressing congratulations. Bringing in another great and friendly personality can only help with recruiting players and connecting with those that are already here, in order to get the most out of them.

It's hard not to look at the David signing as one geared towards helping with recruiting in the United States. He has long ties to the California area and with Dubuque, likely helped recruit across the United States. As coach of Kenai River, he brought in players from all over the U.S. as well. Convincing a player from Colorado or California to come play in Soldotna, Alaska is impressive.

Of the players already on Portland's protected list that David has a connection with, Cole Guttman is the most obvious. The 1999 born forward who has committed to play for St. Cloud State, starting in 2018, played for David with Dubuque last season and is from Northridge, CA.

Other players that David could have some connections with are 2000 born d-men Slava Demin (played with Anaheim Jr. Ducks), who is currently set to play with the Wenatchee Wild next year and Noah Lee (played with L.A. U-16s). There are likely plenty more that are not as traceable over the internet.

With so many of your bantam picks lost over the past few season, Portland needed a recruiting boost and hopefully this hiring gives them that boost. It certainly appears like Johnston's first move in Portland was a savvy one.

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