Serge Lajoie named new coach of WHL’s Kamloops Blazers

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Serge Lajoie has been named head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers.

Lajoie spent the last three seasons behind the bench of the University of Alberta Golden Bears and won a U Sports championship this year.

"There were a lot of qualified candidates and some very good interviews, but in the end I felt really strong about Serge," Blazers general manager Matt Bardsley said Monday in a statement by the team.

"He is an excellent communicator, a teacher of the game with a focus on development and has a good understanding of today’s players."

Lajoie replaces Don Hay, who retired this past season, but remains on the Blazers staff as an advisor.

Lajoie, from Bonneyville, Alta., played seven games for the Blazers during the 1986-87 season. He played for the Golden Bears for five years.

He then spent four seasons playing in Germany before entering the coaching profession.

"This is an excellent opportunity for me to be involved with such a strong CHL organization," Lajoie said.

"There have been so many great players and coaches come through Kamloops. I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing this rich tradition of excellence."

The Blazers went 30-37-1-4 and did not make the playoffs this past season.

Lajoie’s son Marc, a defenceman, was a first-round pick of the Tri-City Americans in last month’s WHL bantam draft.

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