Gilks quits while ahead as Quesnel Roos coach

Harley Gilks examines the action during his final game as Quesnel Kangaroos head coach. They would win the Coy Cup later that night. Gilks later announced he was stepping down on a high note. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Kangaroos head coach Harley Gilks accepts Coy Cup victory from BC Hockey representative Trevor Bast while rink announcer Al Manderson looks on. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Kangaroos head coach Harley Gilks beholds the grail of B.C. Senior-AA hockey, the Coy Cup. He and the Roos won the trophy in 2023 on home ice at West Fraser Centre. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

If you’re going to go out, there’s no better way than on top.

When Harley Gilks hoisted the Coy Cup, on home ice no less, it was the apex of any coach’s aspirations. He and his Quesnel Kangaroos were champions. They had won B.C.’s top amateur hockey trophy, after winning the Central Interior Hockey League’s regular season and the CIHL’s playoffs. What a year.

There was no better time, thought Gilks, to step down from his head coach position.

“The Quesnel Kangaroos would like to announce that Harley Gilks will be stepping down as the head coach of the Kangaroos,” said a team statement issued this week. “We would like to thank Harley for his time with the club. Once a Roo always a Roo.”

The team also noted that “Harley has had a lot of success” with the team. That started back as a player when he joined the Roos in 2011-12. He stayed on ice with the team through the end of the 2014-15 season. During that time, Gilks played in 44 games, scoring 12 goals and 23 assists (plus 11 playoff points). His 103 penalty minutes in that 2011-12 inaugural season is the second highest in Roos franchise history (115 by Gary Haverty in 1975-76 is the only one higher, but in 30 games to Gilks’ 17…let that sink in).

In 2019, the Roos won their first CIHL championship since the team joined the league in 2011. Gilks was on that latter team as a player, and was behind the bench on that former team, having taken the reins as their head coach that season. They repeated as CIHL champion the next season. COVID caused the next season to be cancelled, then they reached the finals in the abbreviated pandemic-affected 2021-22 season, but took second place.

But then came the season that put the cherry on top, the provincial Coy Cup championship they won this past spring.

“Just a change of pace,” was how Gilks characterized the move. “I coached midget (U18) rep hockey locally for a couple years. We won the provincial tournament for our division. Following season I went up to coach the Roos. I feel as a hockey club over the last few years we have developed as a core. I just felt like I needed a change. I am going back to coach the Midget rep team, hopefully with another provincial championship. Who knows. I might go back to the Roos down the road if they are looking for another head coach.”

As a Roos coach, Gilks amassed a record of 41-18.

The team is now on the hunt for their next bench boss. Applications are being accepted.

“Over the past five years the success the Roos have had has been unbelievable, and moving forward with a new coach, we will continue on bringing a talented team to the ice every night,” the team said.

They are looking for candidates who exhibit strong mentorship, leadership, disciplinary skills, are organized and task oriented, and value community involvement. Resumes can be sent to

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