Darrell Leahy is the new head coach of the Fort St. John Senior AAA Flyers.
Leahy spent four years as the team's general manager, then took a few years off before taking over the role of head coach from Adam Brash, who coached the team for three seasons.
"I did take a couple of years off and found that I missed it and every year the organization has gotten stronger and better people coming into it," said Leahy.
With the Flyers' Allan Cup win last season, it's a sign that they're the best organization, explained Leahy.
"There's a lot of help there and a lot of enthusiasm from the win last year. Even though I wasn't actually part of the organization last year, [I] certainly felt the same exuberance and pride with the win as all of the players and staff did.
"I don't know if that's what made me want to get back into it or not, but definitely looking forward to the season and seeing what we can do as a group."
Leahy is no stranger to local hockey. He was born and raised in Fort St. John and played all his minor hockey in town before playing for the Fort St. John Junior B Golden Hawks.
He then went on to play in the British Columbia Hockey League with Abbotsford and Chilliwack and the Western Hockey League with Great Falls and New Westminster. He also played senior hockey in Fernie and Chilliwack before coming back to Fort St. John where he played on the Flyers for nine years. Leahy was the Flyers' first general manager after their 2004 resurrection.
Leahy said he hopes to build on what the team has accomplished so far. They are registered as AAA again this season and will vie for the Allan Cup again.
"They're not coming back to play again, they're coming back to win. I feel the same way, and I hope I can bring a winning season to the Flyers and fulfill some of the players' aspirations as well as my own," he said.
"It's not an easy road, it's tough to win on the road, it always is. We're going to have to be strong."
The Flyers will be playing games against teams like the Prince George Mohawks to gain more experience this season. And they will still play in the North Peace Hockey League. AAA statuses won't be finalized until Oct. 15.
"We do have an advantage of having a league structure," said Leahy. "There's not many that have the league structure that we have to play throughout the year."
Leahy said it should be a good season.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and a challenge it will be," he said.
"We need to build a support system around the hockey team and create a positive environment that makes all the players want to come out and play hard. We'll go from there. If we can get commitment from the players and continue the strong work ethic that they already have and have had for a number of years, we'll be good."
The Flyers' first tryout camp is Sept. 29 at 8:15 p.m. at the North Peace Arena.
Their season starts on Oct. 30. Visit www.fsjflyers.ca for more information.