KAMLOOPS, BC— A week before they open their 2022 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League training camp, the Kamloops Storm have announced a head coaching change. After one season with the Storm, Geoff Grimwood has stepped away from the team. He will be replaced by former NHL player Jan Ludvig. Grimwood is pursuing other opportunities closer to his family on Vancouver Island.
“It was a bit of a surprise when we got the news,” said General Manager Matt Kolle. “The plan was to have Geoff here for another year at the helm. But he thinks it is important for him to stay closer to home. Geoff did a good job while he was here. The players really enjoyed working with him and bought into his systems and ideas. We were one of the top teams in the league.”
“I would like to thank General Manager Matt Kolle and the entire Storm organization for a great season,” says Grimwood.
He directed the Storm to a second-place finish in the KIJHL’s Doug Birks Division with a record of 28-10-3-1 for 60 points. Kamloops lost out to the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the Doug Birks Division Final in 2021-22.
“I wish them well under new coach Ludvig”, he added.
“I am returning to the team where both my son’s (Mick and John) played at one point,” says Ludvig. “I am looking to help Matt build an exciting team which will be fun to watch for the fans.”
Kolle said the initial plan was to have Ludvig come into the organization as an assistant coach to learn the KIJHL, Storm operations and the players with the intention of taking over as head coach in 2023-24.
“We are now fast tracking it,” he said. “Jan has been on the ice the last couple of weeks with some of the Storm players and he seems to be enjoying himself. Looking ahead, we will have a progressive and fun year again.”
“Jan shares a number of the same beliefs as I do,” Kolle added. “ We are passionate about players who want to play hockey and get better. You have to drive the intensity and focus. We want players who come to the rink who are focused. They want to be hockey players. They are hungry and want to get to the next level. As a hockey team, we want to play inspired and aggressive. You can expect this team to be ready, prepared and hard nosed.”
The 60-year-old Ludvig played 314 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. He scored 54 goals and added 87 assists. After coming over from what was once known as Czechoslovakia, Ludvig played in the Western Hockey League for the old Kamloops Junior Oilers in 1981-82. In 37 games, he had 31 goals and 34 assists. Most recently, Ludvig has been scouting for New Jersey and the Boston Bruins along with training young players.
“I have been very lucky to work with and for some incredible hockey people in the NHL and am anxious to pass on the knowledge I received from them to our young players.”
Ludvig’s son John is a former Kamloops Minor Hockey Association player who was the captain of the WHL Portland Winter Hawks. He is currently in the Florida Panthers organization.
“Matt Kolle has had a big part in John’s development since he was little, stated Ludvig. “I would like to return the favour.”
Ludvig starts his position immediately and will be on the ice with the Storm as they begin training camp at the McArthur Island Sports Center on August 29th. The Storms first exhibition game is September 9 the against the Princeton Posse at Mac Isle.
The Storm plan to have last year’s assistants: Andrew Fisher, Scott Norman and Steve Gainey back as assistant coaches in 2022-23. Ludvig has also added two well known Kamloops sports figures as advisors: Barry Adkins and David Stride. Adkins, a member of the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame, is a former kickboxing and martial arts coach and runs the White Crane Gung Fu school. Stride is a high-performance trainer who operates Stride Performance.