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Puck drops in Spruce Grove for Quesnel hockey coach

Ryan Marsh is back for a second stint behind Saints bench

Quesnel coach Ryan Marsh has just been named the bench boss of the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

Saints General Manager Rob Sklaruk announced on July 20 that Marsh had been hired as the team’s new head coach.

“Marsh, 48, is entering his 20th season of coaching and brings a wealth of experience to the Saints organization with a decorated playing career and lengthy coaching career including a stint with the Saints in the mid-2000s,” said a statement issued by the team.

“Ryan started his coaching career in 2003-2004 in the AJHL as an assistant coach with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders,” said the Saints. “After spending three seasons with the Traders, Marsh moved onto the Spruce Grove Saints bench alongside head coach Steve Hamilton from 2006-2010. Marsh was part of an impressive coaching group which included a sparkling record of 164 wins and 47 losses, highlighted by winning the first AJHL Championship in the Spruce Grove Saints era in 2010.”

Marsh then moved on to spend one season as an assistant coach with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks, of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). Just a season later, he was back in the Clare Drake Arena where he once suited up as a player, but this time behind the bench as an assistant coach, helping the University of Alberta Golden Bears win a Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) National Championship in 2014.

Marsh then moved across the city of Edmonton and took a position with the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings for four seasons before heading east and holding the position of associate coach with the Saskatoon Blades for the next four seasons.

He was most recently coaching in Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) with the Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany.

Saints General Manager Rob Sklaruk weighed in on his newest hire, saying, “it is a wonderful feeling to bring a former Saint home. Ryan is an experienced and well-rounded coach. We are extremely happy to welcome him back to Grant Fuhr Arena.”

Marsh also brings experience as a player with 186 regular season games played during his Western Hockey League career from 1992-1995 as a defender with the Tri-City Americans. From there, Ryan made a stop in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for one season before joining the University of Alberta Golden Bears where he played for four seasons while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in physical education. Marsh then closed out his playing career back in the ECHL with the Louisiana Ice Gators where he played 60 games and registered 6 points and 92 penalty minutes during the 2001-2002 season.

Marsh spoke about rejoining the Saints organization as the team’s head coach. “I’m happy to be coming back to Alberta to be close to my family, especially to an organization with familiarity. The Saints are a perennial AJHL contender, and I am honoured to coach this great organization through its 20th season, maintaining the standard of excellence that has been set in all areas.”

Ryan will join assistant coaches Brandon Switzer and be reunited with fellow Tri-City American alumni Boyd Olson as the 2023-2024 Spruce Grove Saints coaching staff.

“The entire Spruce Grove Saints organization is thrilled to welcome Ryan and his family back to the team and our community,” said the team’s statement.

After claiming the North Division Championship for the fourth consecutive season in 2022-2023, the Saints start their 2023-2024 campaign on home ice, taking on the Grande Prairie Storm on September 15th at 7 p.m.

READ MORE: Ryan Marsh named assistant coach for World U-17 Hockey Challenge

READ MORE: Marsh continuing the family tradition of hockey excellence

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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