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Spokane Chiefs name Nelson native Adam Maglio as head coach of WHL franchise

Nelson native Adam Maglio is the new skipper of the WHL Spokane Chiefs hockey club. — Photo courtesy Larry Brunt, Spokane Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Nelson native Adam Maglio will become the organization’s 14th full-time head coach.

Maglio, who grew up in the Heritage City playing minor hockey and with Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, served last season as Associate Coach under Manny Viveiros.

The former Spokane skipper accepted the same position with the AHL’s Henderson Golden Knights.

“I’m humbled and thankful to Bobby Brett, Mark Miles, Scott Carter and the rest of the Spokane Chiefs organization for trusting me to lead the team,” Maglio, the son of Val and Dan Maglio of Nelson, said in a media release on the Chiefs’ website.

“I’m also thankful for the opportunity to work with Manny Viveiros, who is an outstanding leader, coach and friend.

“I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to grow as a coach and learn the league with Manny. I’m excited for his new opportunity, which is very well deserved.”

Last season, Maglio was instrumental in helping the Chiefs to a 41-18-4-1 record, including wins in each of their final 10 games, before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He primarily worked with the club’s defencemen, including Western Hockey League Defenceman of the Year Ty Smith, recently-signed Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Filip Kral and WHL plus-minus leader Noah King, who then signed an AHL contract with the Stockton Heat.

“When we hired Manny, Adam was a very strong consideration for the head coach position,” Scott Carter, general manager noted.

“We were very excited he took our Associate Coach job and learned from Manny last season. I believe he is one of the top young coaches available and I know he will follow in the footsteps of many great Chiefs coaches before him.”

After minor hockey, Maglio spent two seasons in the KIJHL, debuting as a rookie with the Leafs before his playing rights were traded to the Castlegar Rebels to start the 2006-07 season.

In 93 career regular season games, Maglio had 28 goals and 67 points for a points-per-game average of 0.72.

From the KIJHL, Maglio continued his playing career in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s third division with Morrisville State College, where he spent two seasons then moved onto U Sports with UBC Thunderbirds.

It was during his time at UBC that began an interest in coaching.

He followed his new-found passion as coach while playing overseas for the Hong Kong Tycoons before returning for an assistant coaching position at UBC.

Maglio then turned to coaching in the BC Hockey League, mostly as an assistant (2015-17) and head coach (2017-19) with the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Spruce Kings jumped 18 points and 12 wins in his first year as head coach in 2017-18, finishing 33-17-4-4 during the regular season to earn a Mainland Division title. They made a deep playoff run that ended with a loss in the league finals.

Maglio also coached the team to the annual Doyle Cup trophy with a 4-2 series win over the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) before narrowly losing to the hosting Bandits in the finals of the National Junior A Championship.

“I look forward to continue working with our players and staff,” Maglio added.

“We want to be a consistent team. To be consistent, I believe it starts with our team culture, competitive level and a growth mindset collectively. We will work extremely hard as a staff to achieve these goals and ultimately develop both our players and our team game.”

The Chiefs’ search for a new assistant coach will begin immediately.

With files from the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League and KIJHL.