Former Vernon Vipers coach back to lead Cowichan Valley Capitals

After a dismal start to the 2022-23 BC Hockey League season, the Cowichan Valley Capitals made some big changes to shake things up.

The Junior A hockey team announced that they are now under new management and are bringing back the head coach who last led them to a successful season, Mike Vandekamp. The former Vernon Vipers head coach and general manager held the position in Duncan for two seasons, 2018-19 and 2019-20, during which he rebuilt the team. He will also serve as the team’s general manager.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Mike back to the team and community and look forward to the future success of the Cowichan Capitals,” said a press release from the team.

Vandekamp was head coach and GM of the Vipers from 2001-2005. He led the Vipers to the league’s Fred Page Cup championship series in 2002, falling in six games to the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The following year, Vandekamp won his one and only Fred Page Cup title, guiding the Vipers to the 2003 championship with a sweep of the Chiefs. It was the third straight year Vandekamp led a team to the BCHL final. He was head coach of the Merritt Centennials in 2001, when they lost in overtime at home in Game 7 to the Victoria Salsa.

Cowichan Valley is 6-11-1-1 through 19 games, eighth in the Coastal Conference, one point behind Chilliwack and the Powell River Kings, who are tied for sixth place. The team finished eighth in the conference last season as well, just one point out of last place.

Previously under Vandekamp in 2020, the Capitals were set for the second round of the BCHL playoffs for the second year in a row until everything shut down due to COVID-19. The team had scored 35 wins that season to date, the most since 2011/12.

The Snakes made a second trade this week, sending Alberta forward Bowden Singleton home to the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations. Singleton did not register a point in 16 games with Vernon.

Earlier, the Vipers acquired forward Ethan Sundar from the Bucks for forward Will Blackburn and futures.

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