Coach of the Year: Jiri Novak – Revelstoke Grizzlies


This week the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announces its overall award winners in seven categories – Most Valuable Player, Top Scorer, Top Defenceman, Top Goaltender, Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and Coach of the Year. 

Next is Coach of the Year – Jiři Novák of the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

“Technically, I don’t think you will find a better coach anywhere, at any level,” says Grizzlies general manager Ryan Parent. “He does a fantastic job. The biggest thing that he has in the bag is he cares and the players know, so they play for him. That’s paramount to what he brings.”

The Czechia native led the Grizzlies to the second best record in the league at 34-8-1-1 in 44 games in his first season as head coach. Under Novák, the Grizzlies were the third highest scoring team with 193 goals and allowed the fewest – 83. The tandem of KIJHL Top Goaltender Jozef Kuchaslo and rookie Louis Adler combined for a 1.85 goals against average, falling just shy of the record set by the Osoyoos Coyotes in 2015/16 when they had a 1.79 GAA in 52 games after allowing 93 goals. 

The Grizzlies were also excellent on specialty teams finishing with the No. 1 penalty-kill at 90.1 per cent – 21-for-225 and their power-play was fifth best at 22.6 per cent – 53-for-234. Novak was promoted to head coach after spending a season as associate coach under Parent and five as an assistant coach. Parent added that Novák is always looking to get better. Novák was part of the coaching staff for Team KIJHL at the B.C. Hockey Conference Prospects Game last November in Kamloops. 

“He’s made our program better,” adds Parent. “The whole organization is proud of what he has accomplished.”