Former Alberni ‘Dog coach now a Vernon Viper

Former Alberni Valley Bulldog assistant coach Chris Shaw has joined the Vernon Vipers.

Former Alberni Valley Bulldog assistant coach Chris Shaw is back with the B.C. Hockey League.

Shaw, who led the Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) to a 25-22-0-3 record last year, has joined the Vernon Vipers.

“This league is important for player development, but also for coaching development. We are very pleased to see Chris move on to this opportunity,” says Chuck Brind’Amour, Nelson Leafs executive member.

Shaw had only been with the Leafs for a year. He was assistant coach with the Bulldogs in 2008-09.

Despite a roller coaster season, he seemed optimistic for the upcoming season saying in an interview with the Nelson Star in March: “My ultimate goal is to win a championship. That’s why I continue in hockey. I like winning.”

If a championship is what Shaw is after, then the Vipers are a good team to work with. They are currently six time national champions.

Shaw had previous coaching experience with the KIJHL Penticton Lakers and the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

Vipers head coach Jason Williamson knows Shaw from playing in the BCHL against each other.

“We’re the same age (30) so we played in the league together and we actually fought once,” recalled Williamson, as he discussed Shaw’s appointment Tuesday afternoon.

The duo were recruited by the NCAA Division 1 Niagara Purple Eagles in their 20-year-old BCHL seasons, and have since become good friends.

Shaw says he likely wouldn’t have considered an assistant coaching job in the BCHL, but when he learned of the vacancy in Vernon, combined with Williamson’s promotion to head coach, it was a “no-brainer.”

“I couldn’t be more excited. Ever since I started coaching I’ve always wanted to progress and move to the best possible spot.”

— With files from the Nelson Star and  Graeme Corbett, Vernon Morning Star

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