Hay takes over as No. 1 as Blazers win . . . He’s tops in playoff wins, too . . . He’s third all-time in CHL

Don Hay of the Kamloops Blazers acknowledges the crowd on Saturday after becoming the WHL’s winningest regular-season head coach. (Photo: Allen Dougas/Kamloops This week)

Don Hay moved to the top of the WHL’s regular-season coaching ladder on Saturday as his Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-2.

Hay now has 743 regular-season coaching victories, split between the Blazers (275), Vancouver Giants (401) and Tri-City Americans (67).

He had tied Ken Hodge’s record on Friday when the Blazers beat the Winterhawks, 5-2.

Hodge was the head coach of the original Edmonton Oil Kings for three seasons (1973-

Colin Robinson, the Kamloops Blazers’ athletic therapist, congratulates head coach Don Hay with a bear hug, while assistant coaches Mike Needham (left) and Chris Murray await their turns. (Photo: Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)

76). The franchise relocated to Portland after that season, and Hodge was the coach there for 17 seasons. He retired from coaching after the 1992-93 season.

A native of Kamloops, Hay, who will turn 64 on Feb. 13, is in his second go-round with the Blazers. The first time, he was the head coach for three seasons (1992-95). He later coached the Americans for two seasons (1998-2000) and the Giants for 10 (2004-14).

He is in his fourth season in this stint with the Blazers.

Hay already was No. 1 in WHL playoff victories as a head coach, with 108, seven more than Hodge and 21 more than Kelly McCrimmon, who won that many postseason games with the Brandon Wheat Kings. McCrimmon now is an assistant general manager with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Put it altogether and Hay has 851 WHL coaching victories.

He also has been part of four Memorial Cup champions, three of them with the Blazers. He was an assistant coach when the Blazers won the 1992 title, and was the head coach for championships in 1994 and 1995. He was the Giants’ head coach when they won in 2006.

With the Blazers having swept the doubleheader from the Winterhawks in Kamloops, it left Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, stalled at 299 regular-season victories. He gets his next chance to become the 23rd coach in WHL history with 300 victories when the Winterhawks play host to the Blazers later today.

Meanwhile, Hay is third in Canadian Hockey League regular-season coaching history with his 743 victories. The leader is Brian Kilrea, who won 1,193 games with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Second on the list is Bert Templeton, who put up 907 victories with six different OHL franchises. Kilrea and Templeton are retired.

Here’s a look at the 22 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories:

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 743

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 558

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

10. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

11. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

12. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 453

      Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

14. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 444

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

19. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 346

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

Here are the OHL’s top five winningest regular-season head coaches:

1,193 — Brian Kilrea (Ottawa)

907 — Bert Templeton (Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Barrie, Sudbury)

687 — Dale Hunter (London)

672 — Stan Butler (Oshawa, Brampton, North Bay)

637 — George Burnett (Niagara Falls, Guelph, Oshawa, Belleville, Hamilton)

Hunter, Butler and Burnett are still active. Their totals are through Saturday’s games. . . . Butler also spent one season (1996-97) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, winning 28 games.

Here are the QMJHL’s top five winningest regular-season head coaches:

589 — Richard Martel (Chicoutimi, St-Hyacinthe, Val-d’Or, Baie-Comeau)

569 — Guy Chouinard (Longueuil, Victoriaville, Verdun, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Laval, Quebec, PEI)

541 — Real Paiement (Granby, Chicoutimi, Moncton, Acadie-Bathurst, St. John’s)

500 — Mario Durocher (Sherbrooke, Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, Lewiston, Acadie-Bathurst, Cape Breton, Val-d’Or)

467 — Benoit Groulx (Hull, Gatineau)

Yanick Jean, now with the Victoriaville Tigers, is No. 1 among active coaches, with 402.


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