The Prairie Hockey Academy just continues to grow and succeed, and it stands to reason that former Western Hockey League and National Hockey League coach Lorne Molleken would only help that process along.
The PHA announced Friday they have hired Molleken to take over as head coach of the Elite 15's program beginning in the new year, a move PHA president Justin Simpkins says will help contribute to the depth of the academy and its student athletes.
“When you think of the name Lorne Molleken, you think of a Saskatchewan hockey player and coach who has spent years in the game and has contributed a lot to the growth and development of Saskatchewan hockey,” Simpkins said in a press release. “To have the chance to bring someone of Lorne's experience into the academy and work alongside him is an incredible honour and privilege. All of us will benefit from his insight and mentorship.”
Molleken will join the team for their first practice after the Christmas break, right on time as the Canadian Sports School Hockey League program prepares to host their inaugural Elite 15's tournament, the Prairie Classic, Jan. 4-6 in Caronport.
“I look forward to the opportunity to work with an age group that I have never coached before and the opportunity to work with these young men and help them mature both on and off the ice,” Molleken said. “I am also excited about working with Justin, Scott, Micah and the rest of the staff at PHA and continue to help build the program.”
A former head coach with the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL, Molleken has also worked with the
San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach. In addition to working with the Moose Jaw Warriors from 1988-91, Molleken was the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades from 1991-95 and from 2004-2013, winning the WHL coach of the year in 1994.
The Elite 15's Cougars are off to an amazing start in their inaugural PHA campaign, holding a 16-7-0 record to sit in fourth place in the league, nine points back of Delta, B.C. Hockey Academy with four games in hand.