Kelly McCrimmon – Owner, General Manager, Head Coach
Kelly McCrimmon is the Owner, General Manager and Head Coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, having been with the team since 1988-89. McCrimmon served as Head Coach from 2004-11, and has been in the same role since 2013. During those 9 seasons, the Wheat Kings have compiled a 381-205-32-36 record and a .630 winning percentage. He has helped the Wheat Kings to four Memorial Cup appearances, once as a player (1979), twice as General Manager (1995, 1996) and once as Head Coach and General Manager (2010). Under McCrimmon’s guidance, the Wheat Kings have captured nine Eastern Division pennants and five Eastern Conference Championships. McCrimmon was named WHL Executive of the Year in 1994-95, 2009-10, 2014-15, and received the CHL Executive of the Year award in 2009-10. Since the 1992-93 campaign, when the club established a CHL record that still stands for the biggest single season improvement of 62 points, the club has won more games than any other team in the Canadian Hockey League and has made the playoffs 21 of the last 23 seasons. McCrimmon is the Wheat Kings All-Time winningest coach, having won over 400 games behind Brandon’s bench. McCrimmon purchased one-third ownership of the Wheat Kings from partner Bob Cornell in 1992, and assumed sole ownership in 2000. A member of the WHL’s Board of Governors, McCrimmon also serves as Chairman of the league’s Competitions Committee.
McCrimmon is proud of the City of Brandon and what the Wheat Kings represent for the region. With many active alumni in the National Hockey League, and even more who have gone on to University using the Wheat King scholarship, the club is honoured and very fortunate to have so many great people come through the organization. Like everyone, McCrimmon looks forward to building on the excitement of last year’s Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy season by providing an exciting team for 2015-16.
Darren Ritchie – Assistant Coach
Darren Ritchie is entering his ninth season as a Wheat Kings’ Assistant Coach. The Minnedosa born Ritchie joined the club in 2007. A former WHL All-Star in Brandon, Ritchie scored 152 goals (7th most in franchise history) and 278 points in 232 career games. His best year came in 1994-95 when he recorded a team leading 62 goals and 114 points in 69 games and was named to the Eastern Conference First All-Star Team. As well, he was chosen winner of the Brad Hornung Trophy that goes to the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. Following his junior career, he spent nine seasons playing professional hockey in both North America and Europe.
David Anning – Assistant Coach
A 29-year old Winnipeg native, David Anning joined the Wheat Kings in the 2012-2013 season. Anning came to the Wheat Kings with a wealth of MJHL coaching experience, having spent six season with the Winnipeg Saints, Dauphin Kings and the Steinbach Pistons. Anning won the Anavat Cup as Assistant Coach with the Dauphin Kings in 2010. The following season Anning took over as Head Coach and General Manager of the Winnipeg Saints. Prior to his coaching career, Anning played four seasons as a Defenceman with the Winnipeg Saints.
Matt Cockell – Goaltending Coach
Matt Cockell has served as the Wheat Kings Goaltending Coach for six seasons. Cockell rejoined the club after spending two seasons with Hockey Canada from 2012-2014. Selected in the fifth round (117th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1997 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Cockell played three seasons in the WHL with Saskatoon, Regina, Seattle and Spokane. A Winnipeg product, Cockell has been a goaltending coach for Canada’s National Women’s Program since 2007 and was part of the staff that captured the Gold Medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.