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Warriors extend contracts of head coach O’Leary, hockey operations staff

Assistants Scott King and Gord Burnett, goaltender coach Matt Weninger, athletic therapist Brooke Kosolofski, equipment manager Tanner Arnold all sign new deals
warriors logo sweater
(file photo)
With the way things have gone for the Moose Jaw Warriors through the early part of the season and the potential for big things ahead, the Western Hockey League squad has decided to lock up their hockey operations staff for the near future.

The Warriors announced Tuesday that head coach Mark O’Leary, assistant coaches Scott King and Gord Burnett, goaltending coach Matt Weninger, athletic therapist Brooke Kosolofski and equipment manager Tanner Arnold had all signed extensions with the club, adding some crucial stability to the team’s coaching and support staff.

“They deserve it with what we’re doing here,” said Warrior general manager Jason Ripplinger. “They’ve all been together for a few years and we all trust each other, so this was the right move to make for this group of players.”

The Warriors are currently 2-1-0-0 on the season and have looked the part of a team ready to contend for a playoff spot and beyond. Keeping that early momentum going and only moving forward will be key for the rest of the campaign, and having a crew of staff familiar with the players and vice versa will be key.

“I think these players are getting comfortable with the coaching staff and our coaching staff is getting comfortable with the players, so a change makes no sense to me,” Ripplinger said. “I think there’s something good here happening here and these are the right guys to lead us.”

This is the 10th season for O’Leary with the Warriors, including the second full season as head coach. He joined the Warriors in 2012-13 as an assistant coach, was promoted to associate coach in 2018-19 and took over as head coach midway through 2019-20.

King is in his seventh season with the Warriors. He joined the organization’s coaching staff as a skills coach in 2015-16 and was promoted to assistant coach in 2016-17.

 Burnett is entering his second season with the Warriors. Previously, he was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) in 2019-20, worked as an assistant coach with the Kootenay ICE from 2015-19 and the NCAA University of Notre Dame from 2014 to 2015.

Weninger is entering his fifth season as the Warriors’ goaltending coach.  Along with his duties with the Warriors, he is currently the South regional manager for Hockey Alberta and was part of Hockey Canada’s staff at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship that won a gold medal.

Kosolofski is entering his ninth season with the Warriors.  He joined the organization midway through the 2012-13 season. Previously, he worked with the Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL), the University of Lethbridge Men’s hockey team and at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.

Arnold is going into his third season with the Warriors. He was with the team in 2017-18 and rejoined the Warriors for the 2021 East Division Hub. Previously, Arnold worked with the Calgary Stampeders in 2014, the Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL) from 2015-17 and the Kindersley Klippers in 2019-20.

The Warriors are back in action tonight when they host the Prince Albert Raiders. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place and fans are reminded to have proof COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test from the last 72 hours.