Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rebels Trim Coaching Staff

Chris Neiszner
There will be one less man behind the Red Deer Rebels bench this season.

GM and Head Coach Jesse Wallin announced that the Rebels have not renewed the contract of Assistant Coach Chris Neiszner for the 2012-13 season.

Neiszner, who played four seasons with the Rebels from 2001-05, joined the team's coaching staff prior to the 2010-11 season.

In announcing the move, Wallin made it clear the decision was not based on performance... but instead on the return of some 'help from above."

"With Brent [Sutter] being back full-time we just felt that he's gonna be able to be a lot more involved," Wallin explained at the Rebels preseason media luncheon on Thursday.  "He'll be able to help me out with a lot of the GM duties and alleviate a lot of that, which will allow me to focus a lot more on the coaching side of things."

Many were wondering what the impact would be of having Sutter back in the office as opposed to coaching in the NHL (as he did for the past five seasons).  Now we know.  And Wallin, for one, is excited.

"He's the Owner.  It's his team.  He's always been involved but having his focus and full attention here is gonna be beneficial for everybody involved.  I know for myself, having him take a lot of the GM side on will be hugely beneficial for me."

Wallin won't be handing over all of his general managing duties.  He will still be taking part in WHL GM meetings when they come up.  Sutter will be looking after what Jesse isn't able to attend to while he's behind the Rebels bench.  Namely scouting other players and teams in the league as well as keeping an eye on Rebels prospects.

Bryce Thoma will return as Wallin's Assistant Coach.

As for Neiszner, has already found himself a new role within the hockey world.  He is now employed with Hockey Alberta (Coordinator, Regional Centre Central).

Two more familiar faces from last season also will be gone when training camp rolls around.

As per Greg Meachem's article in Thursday's Red Deer Advocate, forwards Marc Mackenzie and Mason Burr have told the Rebels they will not be coming to camp, thus ending their WHL careers.

Mackenzie is returning to Okanagan College where he was at before joining the Rebels midway through last season.

Burr is leaving hockey altogether and is considering his educational options.

To check out Wallin's media scrum in its entirety... head on over to REBELS THIS WEEK!


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