Brandon, MB – The Brandon Wheat Kings have added two coaches to their staff for the 2020-21 Western Hockey League season. Todd Miller will join head coach Don MacGillivray on the bench as an assistant coach and Daniel Johnston will be stepping into the role of video coach, a first in franchise history.
Miller, 42, is a native of Elliot Lake, ON and has a long history of coaching in the Canadian Hockey League. He spent eleven seasons with the Barrie Colts (OHL), acting as an assistant coach to bench boss Dale Hawerchuk, before taking the reins as head coach in the 2019-20 season. Miller took over as head coach in January 2020, after the club parted ways with interim head coach Warren Rychel, and coached the young team to a 13-7-2 record, finishing the shortened season in second place of the OHL’s central division.
“Last year was a very different one for me losing one of my close friends and colleagues, Dale Hawerchuk,” said Miller. “He told me a lot about Manitoba as it was his second home and he always had a lot of high praise for the province. I know he must be smiling up there knowing I’m headed to Brandon. This is a great opportunity for me joining the Wheat Kings and I’m excited to meet the team and get started”.
Johnston, 28, from Calgary, AB is no stranger to the Western Hockey League, having played with the Portland Winterhawks and the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2007-2013. Johnston joins the Wheat Kings on the heels of his playing days, having hung up his skates after the 2017-18 season following a five-year career in the ECHL. He will be looking to bring a new perspective to Brandon, setting the stage as the team’s first ever video coach.
“I’m really excited to be coming to Brandon,” says Johnston. “I’m just retiring from playing and I’ve been video coaching with players over the last year, so this opportunity felt like a perfect fit for me. I remember Brandon well from my playing days; it was a tough building to play in on the road. I consider it one of the model organizations in the WHL so I couldn’t be happier to get the chance to join this club”.
The Wheat Kings and the WHL are slated to begin their season on January 8th, 2021 with an interdivisional Regular Season schedule. Wheat Kings General Manager, Darren Ritchie believes Miller and Johnston will be valuable additions to the club.
“This is great news for our team,” said Ritchie. “Any time you can add a coach who has extensive experience in the Canadian Hockey League, like Todd does, you have a chance to make your team better and I think we’ve done that. Daniel’s experience in hockey, between playing and as a video coach, is going to be a great way to improve the development of our players on the ice. We’re really excited to add these two new members to our team.”