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Former NHLer takes over as Ridge Meadows Flames head coach

Brent Hughes will coach Junior B team
Brent Hughes, the new Ridge Meadows Flames coach, from his Leaf hockey card in the 1994-95 season.

Ridge Meadows Flames has a new head coach, and he has a wealth of experience as both a professional player and coach.

Brent Hughes played for the New Westminster Bruins and Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League, before going on to an NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. All totalled, he played 357 games, scoring 41 goals and 80 points, and compiling 831 penalty minutes. He broke in with the Jets in 1988-89, was established as a regular with the Bruins in the 1992-93 season, and finished his NHL career with the Islanders in 1996-97.

BREAKING NEWS: the Ridge Meadows Flames are proud to announce Brent Hughes as Head Coach! Brent played 357 NHL games...

Posted by Ridge Meadows Flames Hockey Club on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

His most impressive season was 1993-94 when he had 13 goals, 24 points and dropped the gloves 10 times.

Then he went on to be a head coach in the minor pro leagues, and was with the Austin Ice Bats for six years, and the Corpus Christi Icerays for three. In those nine seasons as a coach he missed the playoffs just twice, and lost in the championships twice.

He eventually retired from coaching in 2011, finishing with a career record of 257-174-43

“He’s got a whole wealth of hockey experience that we’re excited about,” said GM Derek Bedard.

“He adds an element to our program that we’ve never had.”

Owner Andrew Ilaender said he hasn’t seen teams in the Pacific Junior Hockey League with a coach of this calibre, other than in a consulting role.

“There might be a few more people out to watch our practices,” he said.

The new coach is in Texas, where he spent so many years as a coach, and then will be in quarantine upon his return.

Hughes replaces former head coach Bayne Ryshak, who was let go after last season.

READ ALSO: Ryshak no longer coaching Ridge Meadows Flames

• The Flames announced the acquisition of 20-year-old forward Jack Steffens. He has played for the North Vancouver Wolf Pack the past two seasons, putting up five goals and 17 points in 36 regular season games. The Coquitlam native also had a cup of coffee in the BCHL – three games with his home town Express.

Bedard said he is a versatile forward who can play either centre or wing, and brings speed and quickness along with aggressive puck pursuit.

He was acquired for future considerations.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Giants win 5-4 shootout against Victoria

• The Flames have rescheduled their annual spring player identification camp, with the hope of seeing some eased COVID-19 public health restrictions in the summer. This year the camp will be held July 5 to 29 at the Pitt Meadows Arena. The Flames will still proceed with a modified camp, if necessary, at that time.

For information see the following link.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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