On Tuesday, the Summerland Steam announced that Head Coach John Depourcq will be returning for a 5th year behind the Steam bench. Known for his hockey knowledge, calm demeanor and strong teaching methods, Coach Depourcq has put up a stellar record in his four seasons with the Steam thus far. While compiling this stellar record, Depourcq and his staff have worked long and hard to ensure that a good product is put on the ice, and that his players have opportunities for advancement that they may not have playing elsewhere.
Upon arrival, Depourcq inherited a team that won just 15 games in their inaugural season in 2011/12. Since the date of his arrival, things have only gone forward for the Summerland Steam organization, posting win totals of 21, 33, 28, and 34 in his four seasons behind the Steam bench. For those counting, that’s a record of 116 coaching wins in 208 appearances over four seasons. That’s a .558% win%, which is stellar considering the amount of turnover the KIJHL produces with players moving in and out of the league.
These numbers are impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the improvement Depourcq’s teams have shown in those four seasons. The Steam have been playoff bound in each of the four years, going further and further each season in the playoffs. During the regular season the Steam boast a division championship, two second place finishes and a fourth place finish, while Depourcq has taken home the Okanagan Division Coach of the Year award twice during his tenure with the Steam.
In the playoffs the improvement has been remarkable year over year, culminating in an Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final berth this past season where the team fell in a grueling 5 game series with the eventual Keystone Cup Champion 100 Mile House Wranglers.
In short, the return of John Depourcq to the Summerland Steam, in my opinion, is the most important (and best) thing for the Summerland Steam. He has a strong knowledge of what it takes to win and establishes a game plan and sticks to it through the best and worst of times.
For the upcoming season, Depourcq will have a lot of familiar faces to work with. There are 13 players from last season’s team that have the ability to come back and play the 2016/17 season, including the likes of Braden Eliuk, Alex Williams, Matt Huber, and the Yukon Line, to name a few. Depourcq and his staff will have no shortage of impact players to work with should they all return for another season, and the organization is thrilled about Depourcq’s decision to return for another year.
The Steam will open defense of their Okanagan Division Title (Playoffs) on September 9th, with a rematch of the 2015/16 Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final with the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
The Wranglers will likely be buoyed by goaltending standout Zane Steeves (’96) in his 20-year-old season as the boys from the South Cariboo open defense of their Keystone Cup Championship.