Scott Walker returns as head coach of Guelph Storm
GUELPH – Scott Walker is back as head coach of the Guelph Storm, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Friday.
Walker, a part-owner of the team and its President of Hockey Operations, takes the head-coaching responsibilities from George Burnett who had served as both general manager and head coach for the Storm from the 2017-18 season on. Burnett is to remain as the general manager.
“Once we decided to hire a head coach to work with George as the general manager, he and I reviewed a list of highly-qualified candidates,” Walker said in a press release. “During this process, George asked if I’d be interested in the job and after discussions, we agreed that it was the right fit. I’m looking forward to working closely with George and contending for championships.”
The Storm went 138-94-0-35 in the latest four regular seasons with Burnett as head coach and they won the league championship in 2019. It was Burnett’s second stint with the Storm as his first had been a one-season stay when the team won the league title in the 1997-98 season when it went 42-17-6-1 in the regular season. The Storm went 36-24-0-8 last season and lost 4-1 to the Soo Greyhounds in the Western Conference quarter-finals.
“At the end of the season, Scott informed me that it was the desire of ownership to have two people fulfill the general manager and head coach roles moving forward and I’m proud to remain with the Storm as the general manager,” Burnett said in the press release. “Since our championship in 2019, our staff has worked hard to assemble a strong core of talented young players and we are excited to see what they achieve under Scott’s leadership and guidance.”
Walker had been the Storm’s head coach for parts of five seasons from 2010-11 to 2014-15. The team went 164-94-0-21 during that time and won the league championship in 2014.
Burnett and Walker are one-two in coaching wins for the franchise with Burnett first at 180 and Walker second at 164.
“Around the CHL, the dual role has nearly disappeared over the last few years with the time commitments required for both jobs,” Storm co-owner Joel Feldberg said in the press release. “We believe that this change gives the team and our players the best chance for success in the short and long term.”
Walker was an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks last season.
The Storm has also added Todd Miller to the coaching staff as an assistant. He was head coach of the Oshawa Generals in the 2021-22 season but was replaced in March with the Generals at 24-24-1-4. He had also been the interim head coach of the Barrie Colts for the final 22 games of the 2019-20 season when the Colts went 13-7-0-2 before the global pandemic brought the season to an end.
Associated coach Chad Wiseman and goaltending coach Rob Beatty remain on Walker’s staff.
“I’m excited to work with Chad and Todd,” Walker said in the press release. “I’ve known them both for a while and we’re lucky to have two well respected assistants that are capable of being head coaches in this league working on our staff.”
The Storm are to open their training camp for the 2022-23 season August 29.
- Guelph Sports Journal