Former Skiers coach off to Washington
Hockey jobs have taken Mark LeRose all over the United States, a winding tour that includes stints at the college, pro and high school levels in places such as South Dakota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Aspen. Now, the native of Western Canada is returning to his hockey roots.LeRose – who served two stints as the Skiers varsity coach and met and married his wife, Brooke Newman, here in Aspen – has accepted an assistant coaching job with the Everett Silvertips, a Junior Major A team in Northern Washington.Located 25 miles north of Seattle in a town of about 100,000, the Silvertips play in the Western Hockey League – one of three member leagues in the Canadian Hockey League.
The WHL is made up primarily of western Canadian teams from towns LeRose knows intimately from his junior playing days.”It’s a bit like going home,” said LeRose, whose wife will remain in Aspen at the couple’s home while LeRose coaches the Silvertips during a 70-game schedule that begins with training camp in August and runs through May. “I’ll remain here in the offseason, but I will be relocating to Everett. We’ll have to do long distance, but my wife is really excited about the opportunity.”Most recently, LeRose worked for Next Testing as a hockey operations consultant and developed the testing protocol for the NHL combine. He took the job with Next Testing following his second stint as the Skiers coach, during the 2005-06 season.LeRose first came to Aspen in 1993 to take the coaching director’s job at Aspen Junior Hockey, and met his future wife a year later. During his tenure at Aspen Junior Hockey he led the Aspen Leafs to two midget AA state titles (1998 and 1999), before leaving to work as the coaching staff assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He returned to Aspen in 2001 to take over the high school program and led the Skiers to consecutive state semifinal appearances before being hired as the assistant bench coach at the University of Wisconsin. That was followed by a stint as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL.His current job is the next step in a steady – albeit at times herky-jerky – progression up the coaching ladder, LeRose said. The WHL has a long-standing reputation as a training ground for future NHL players, including Avalanche captain Joe Sakic, and LeRose will be working directly with some of the most promising junior players in North America.The Calgary Flames selected Silvertips goalie, Leland Irving, with their first pick in the 2006 draft and the Boston Bruins took center Zach Hamill with their first pick (eighth overall) in last months draft.
“There are working agreements with the National Hockey League that any time a player gets developed out of the [WHL], the league gets compensated,” said LeRose, who played his college hockey at Division I Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1988-1992.LeRose will work under longtime friend John Becanic, who recently accepted the Silvertips’ coaching job after LeRose’s coaching mentor, Kevin Constantine, moved to Houston to coach the Aeros of the American Hockey League.”Mark will fill a void on our coaching staff with skill development,” Becanic said in a team release. “With his experience in coaching high-level talent, he will make us a better organization and the players will benefit from his coaching.” Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com