SUMMERLAND- Mark MacMillan has been hired as the new Head Coach and General Manager of the Summerland Steam, the organization announced Wednesday.
The Penticton native steps behind the Steam bench after six years of professional hockey, including the last two seasons in Denmark playing for the Herning Blue Fox. While starring in the B.C. Hockey League with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Penticton Vees, MacMillan, 29, was drafted 113th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2010. He then spent four seasons with one of the NCAA’s top Men’s hockey programs at the University of North Dakota before turning pro with the Canadiens’ American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John’s Ice Caps.
“We are lucky to find and extremely excited to announce the hiring of Mark MacMillan,” says Steam president Sean Paxman. “His experiences moving up through the ranks will provide our players with up close and personal accounts and experiences on how to maneuver through junior hockey and beyond. His commitment to all aspects of development, skills, strength and conditioning will give our players the stepping stones needed towards reaching their goals.“
During his playing career, MacMillan always envisioned himself as a coach.
“The opportunity came up and obviously being local, and knowing Summerland and wanting to get into coaching, it seemed like the right time and a great opportunity,” says MacMillan, whose career also saw him play in the ECHL as well as the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden and DEL2 in Germany.
Recently, MacMillan has been gaining coaching and player development experience as he co-owns Skate with Power with Lars Hepso, who played in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with the Penticton Lakers. Along with assisting Hepso working with players on their skating, he also helps them with their shooting and stickhandling skills.
MacMillan, who became a father over the summer, also believes his playing experience will be a factor in developing Steam players.
“I think having those different experiences and going through a bunch of things in life can help me help younger players and share my experiences with them, what it takes to get there,” says MacMillan. “One thing I’m really excited for as a head coach is I was always a leader during my playing career. I often wore a letter on my jersey. I saw myself in this role.”
MacMillan will assume his responsibilities immediately and be behind the bench when Summerland hosts the North Okanagan Knights on Saturday.