The Okanagan Hockey Group would like to congratulate OHA Edmonton assistant coach Eric Thurston on accepting the head coach and general manager positions with the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
“OHA Edmonton would like to wish Eric Thurston all the very best with his opportunity with the Drayton Valley Thunder,” said OHA Edmonton general manager Randall Weber. “We were very fortunate to have had Eric join our coaching staff this past season and he will be sorely missed. Eric carried out his role as Academy assistant coach and educational consultant with a remarkable attitude and positive energy.
“Our student athletes were very fortunate to have access to his experience, support and knowledge of the game on a daily basis. We are very happy for Eric and his family as he takes on this new challenge.”
Thurston, 54, spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach with the OHA Edmonton Midget Prep team, helping them to a 19-12-5 record during the Canadian Sport School Hockey League regular season.
“My time spent this season with OHA Edmonton has been nothing short of fantastic,” said Thurston. “The opportunity to work with three great head coaches and 60 wonderful kids has made this year one of the best years I’ve ever had in hockey. Going to Royal Glenora Club and going on the ice with three different teams and learning from three great coaches has really helped me grow as a coach. I know I will miss the very competitive games in the CSSHL.
“The chance to be a coach and general manager with the Drayton Valley Thunder was just a great opportunity that I’m so thankful to have.”
Thurston has an extensive coaching background that saw him on the University of Alberta coaching staff from 1995-2011, serving as head coach from 2005-2012. As head coach, he won two U Sports National Championships (2006, 2008), was the recipient of the 2009 Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as U Sports Coach of the Year and won the Canada West Coach of the Year award in 2006 and 2009.
The Okanagan Hockey Group would like to thank Eric for his contributions to the development of our student athletes this past season and wish him all the best in his new role with the Drayton Valley Thunder.
At the end of grade nine, my parents and I decided it would be beneficial for both my hockey and scholastic development to attend OHA the next year. We toured other hockey academies, but ultimately felt OHA was the best fit for me. The coach’s and trainer’s expertise allowed me to learn more about the game, further develop my skills, strength and stamina and readied me to enter the WHL as a competent and confident 16 year old. With the support of great teachers and tutors my grades improved and I made friends that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend OHA for the player who is looking to take their game, grades and life skills to the next level."