Assistant coach Jerry Vale is now the top man behind the bench for the Slave Lake Icedogs. His promotion follows the departure of Brian Noad, who had guided the ‘Dogs to a successful record in the first two thirds or so of their inaugural season.
Official details on why Noad was let go are scarce. What team owner Lauren Barr says about it is this: “The Slave Lake Icedog organization decided a change was needed for the betterment of the current players’ collegiate prospects and future of the team’s operation. The Icedog organization feels new coach Jerry Vale’s management philosophy is more in line with the hockey club’s values.”
Vale grew up and played his minor hockey in Victoria, B.C. He played a couple of years on defence for the Victoria Cougars in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, before coming out to Alberta to look for work. He moved to Slave Lake in 2013, playing briefly for both the Wolves and Winterhawks.
Vale worked at one of the mills, got married and now has a couple of daughters. As far as coaching experience goes, he says he’s helped out with the Midgets here and did a bit also in minor hockey back in B.C. More recently, “I got the opportunity to help out with this group.” With the departure of Noad, he got offered the head coaching job as a paid position and took it.
“It’s going pretty well, I think,” he says. “The guys are adapting to it and committing to the program.”
Vale was undefeated as a head coach after his first two games.
Asked about a coaching style, Vale mentions one of his junior coaches as making a strong impression on him and as someone he tries to emulate. Also, “my father was a really good coach.”
As for what the Icedogs are like to coach, Vale says they are talented and respectful and “seem to be liking what I’ve brought to the table.”
For now, Vale is the only coach the Icedogs have. He says he could use an assistant or two, and hopes somebody will volunteer.