Campbell River Storm Assistant Coach, Curtis Toneff, has a new job.
This week he’ll begin a new chapter in his coaching career as the Defensive Assistant Coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. His other duties will include recruitment.
“If it wasn’t for the chance (head coach and general manager) Lee (Stone) gave me, I wouldn’t be moving on to coach in the BCHL,” Toneff says, adding, “I heard Lee say, in a recent interview, that he owes me a lot. I think it’s the opposite, I owe Lee and the City of Campbell River a big thank you.”
Toneff joined the Storm late in the 2013-2014 season as a 20-year-old player. He would become the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs which would come to an end with a semi-final series loss to the Victoria Cougars.
Last season, he joined the coaching staff and by year’s end would help to bring three championships to Campbell River; the VIJHL’s Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy, British Columbia’s Cyclone Taylor Cup and Western Canada’s Keystone Cup.
On becoming Western Canadian champions, the former D-man says, “winning everything last year was something all those kids will look back at further down the road and it will be looked at with a big smile.
“The fans, the group of guys we had, the character in that room was second to none. Seeing 20 year-olds with tears of joy in their eyes was something I won’t forget. We brought in Nathan Browne, who I played with in Trail. Seeing him leave here, a winner and with 23 new best friends, is an example of want you want to see happen as a coach.”
The Campbell River Storm organization has been focussed on two goals, winning a championship and encouraging players to reach their potential. Twelve players from last season are playing Junior A or college hockey, three playing in American Division 1 university programs. This season, seven players to wear the Red and Black have already had stints in Junior A.
Seeing a coach move to the next level is a proud moment for the organization, Stone says.
“I’m so excited for him, he’s a great coach – we’re going to miss him greatly.”