CHL Notebook: coach Torchetti takes leave from division-leading Wildcats

John Torchetti is the in-house replacement for Mike Yeo.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Moncton Wildcats issued a statement Sunday night that head coach John Torchetti was taking a leave of absence.

The team statement, issued via the Wildcats official website, only said that Torchetti was taking a leave for personal reasons.

The statement went on to say, "as with any personal matter, the details of Mr. Torchetti’s leave of absence will not be made public."

Torchetti, who holds the position of head coach and director of hockey operations, was not with the team for a game on the road against the Cape Breton Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

Assistant coaches Darryl Boyce and Ryan Salvis ran the bench for Sunday’s game, with Boyce listed as head coach on the official game sheet on the QMJHL website.

Little is known, if/when Torchetti will return to the team.

Moncton sits in top spot in the QMJHL’s Maritimes Division with a 21-6-0-0 record, which places them third in the overall standings.

In the Ontario Hockey League, the Kitchener Rangers made a coaching move early last week as Jay McKee was relieved of his duties as head coach.

"I think right now we are looking at a bigger picture. I think we owe it to our fan base to put a product on the ice that’s fun to watch, competitive, hard-working and ultimately going to win hockey games," general manager Mike McKenzie said in an interview with KitchenerToday.

McKenzie took over as coach on an interim basis and said there was no timeframe on naming a replacement.

In the Western Hockey League, referee Steve Papp was honoured by the league over the weekend.

A 16-year veteran, 14 as a referee, Papp was presented with the WHL’s Milestone Award prior to a game between the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars on Saturday.

The Milestone Award is presented to players, coaches, trainers, officials and WHL championship teams for their outstanding achievements and service to the league.

"Officiating in the WHL requires a tremendous commitment and we very much appreciate the extraordinary service that Steve has provided to the WHL over the past 16 seasons," WHL commissioner Ron Robison said in a release.

Papp has worked over 650 regular-season games, six WHL championship series and a pair of Memorial Cup tournaments.

Papp skated in the 2017 tournament in Windsor and the 2018 tournament in Regina.

Internationally, Papp has worked a World U18 Championship (2013) and a World Junior Hockey Championship (2014).

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