The Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League have called a news conference for Thursday and sources suggest team owner Brent Sutter will announce that he's stepping down as general manager and head coach.
NHL sources tell TSN that Sutter is stepping down from his junior club to pursue a head coaching job in the NHL and that Sutter is the odds-on favourite to be named the next head coach of the New Jersey Devils.
"I really can't comment," Sutter said. "We will have an announcement regarding the Rebels tomorrow. That's all there is to say at this point."
Brent's brother Brian is reportedly taking over the Rebels. Brent Sutter is scheduled to coach Team Canada in the Canada-Russia Super Series, an eight game junior-aged series to honor the 35th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series.
The Devils, meanwhile, are in the market for a new head coach since GM Lou Lamoriello fired Claude Julien late in the regular season. Lamoriello took over and finished out the playoffs as head coach but made it clear he would be hiring a new bench boss to start this season.
Sources say Sutter is Lamoriello's first choice and Thursday's announcement in Red Deer will be the first step towards making that happen.
RED DEER, AB – The Red Deer Rebels Hockey Club announced July 12th, a major restructuring of the organization.Effective immediately, Brent Sutter is stepping down as Governor/General Manager/Head Coach of the hockey club. He has held these positions since purchasing the franchise in May 1999. It should be noted that Sutter is not selling the team.
Effective immediately, Brian Sutter has been named the new Head Coach. Sutter has coached 13 years in the National Hockey League with the St. Louis Blues (1988-92), Boston Bruins (1992-95), Calgary Flames (1997-2000), and the Chicago Blackhawks (2001-04). He won the Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League’s top coach in 1991 with the St. Louis Blues. Most recently, Brian Sutter coached the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League (Senior AAA) to a B.C./Alberta Championship and participated in the 2007 Allan Cup.
As a player, Brian Sutter spent 12 seasons in the NHL all with St. Louis starting in 1976 and ending in 1988. He accumulated 636 points in 779 games during those 12 years along with 1786 minutes in penalties. Along with the hiring of Brian Sutter as Head Coach, there have been other changes within the Rebels organization.
Jesse Wallin is now the team’s Associate Coach, after two seasons as an Assistant, and has accepted a contract extension.
Jerry Van Someren has been named Governor/Vice President of Business Operations. Van Someren has been the team’s Vice President of Business Operations for the last two seasons.
Randy Peterson has been named Vice President of Hockey Operations. Peterson has held the post of Director of Scouting/Player Development since 2003.
Dale McMullin has been named Senior Scout. McMullin has been involved in the Red Deer Rebels scouting staff since 2002.
Ralph Schmidt, former Moose Jaw Warriors General Manager and Calgary Flames scout, has been added to the scouting staff.
Craig Kinney has been named the team’s new Video Consultant. Dallas Gaume, Dave ‘Radar’ Horning, and Terence Robertson have all accepted contract extensions.
Part two tomorrow....live from Jersey.