By Megan Sylvester
(LASALLE, ON) - The LaSalle Vipers will have a new face behind the bench, calling the plays next season.
Former NHL draft pick, Ryan Donally, has been brought on board as the team’s new head coach. A native of Tecumseh, Ontario, Donally has a long and impressive hockey resume. He grew up playing minor hockey with the Sun County Panthers before moving on to become the captain of the Windsor Spitfires.
Over his five years of major junior hockey, Donally played for the Windsor Spitfires, Kitchener Rangers and Sudbury Wolves.
In 2003, he was drafted 97th overall in the NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames. He would go on to spend four years as part of the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks organizations. In 2010 he retired due to injury and spent the last two seasons as the assistant coach of the University of Windsor Men’s Hockey Team.
“We’re very excited about Ryan joining the Vipers’ family,” says Vipers General Manager, Kevin McIntosh. “Ryan’s got an incredible amount of experience. He’s a great communicator. He’ll also be a great role model for the team and for fans as he’s earning his degree in Business Administration at the University of Windsor and is very involved with the community. He’s a great addition to the team.”
Donally says he is proud to be part of an organization like the Vipers. And his coaching philosophy is based on accountability. “Players need to be accountable, accountable to each other, have each other’s backs, breed a brotherhood on the team,”he says.
McIntosh says Donally is not only a great hockey player who understands the game, but he also understands the dynamics of team development. “He wants everyone to play, give everyone the opportunity to play, not going to go down to two lines,” says McIntosh. “He’s here to develop the team, not an individual – everyone will get a chance to play. What they do with the opportunity is up to them.”