VEGAS (May 2, 2019) – On the same day that he was named a 2019 Inductee for the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, Brandon Wheat Kings’ Owner / Governor Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to the new General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Las Vegas Golden Knights.
George McPhee, the Knights’ President of Hockey Operations made the announcement during a Thursday afternoon media conference in Las Vegas.
In this new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the league’s General Managers Meetings and be the point of contact for other NHL GMs. McCrimmon will report to McPhee, who will continue to be responsible for all hockey operations decisions and oversee the club’s hockey operations team as the Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations.
“This is a very exciting announcement for our club and Vegas Golden Knights fans around the world,” said Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley. “George and Kelly are a fantastic team. From the mock draft exercises and preparation leading up to the Expansion Draft, building out our coaching staff, and continually improving our team through the draft, trades, signings and free agency, the work they have done over the last three years has been remarkable. Together they have constructed a championship-caliber team in a very short time. This personnel move ensures that our hockey operations group stays intact and positions our organization for long term success.”
“Kelly has been a tremendous addition to our hockey operations group and the entire Vegas Golden Knights organization as a whole,” said Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee. “His character, leadership, hockey acumen, and player evaluation at both the pro and amateur levels is exceptional. We are confident Kelly will thrive in this new role. We will continue to build a team and a franchise that our fans are proud to support.”
“Working with the Golden Knights has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I am very grateful for this new opportunity,” said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon. “I would like to thank Bill, George, and the entire Golden Knights organization for their support and commitment. We are proud of the foundation we have built and are excited for the future.”
McCrimmon was named Assistant General Manager of the Golden Knights on August 2, 2016 and has played a key role in the construction of the Vegas Golden Knights roster and organization. He was instrumental in the team’s scouting, preparation and player evaluation leading up to and during the 2017 Expansion Draft as well as the team’s inaugural Entry Draft in June of 2017. Since that time, he has assisted McPhee in overseeing all day-to-day hockey operations of the club.
McCrimmon joined Las Vegas after serving as Owner, Governor, General Manager and Head Coach of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, an organization he has been with since 1988-89. McCrimmon served as Head Coach from 2004-11, and 2013-16. He has helped the Wheat Kings to five Memorial Cup appearances, once as a player (1979), three times as General Manager (1995, 1996, 2016) and twice as Head Coach and General Manager (2010, 2016).
Under McCrimmon’s guidance, the Wheat Kings have captured 10 Eastern Division pennants and six Eastern Conference Championships. He was named WHL Executive of the Year in 1994-95, 2009-10, 2014-15, and received the Canadian Hockey League Executive of the Year award in 2009-10.
Since the 1992-93 campaign, when the Wheat Kings established a CHL record that still stands for the biggest single-season improvement of 62 points, the club has won more games than any other team in the CHL and has made the playoffs 22 of the last 24 seasons.
McCrimmon is the Wheat Kings all-time winningest coach, having won over 400 games behind Brandon’s bench. He purchased one-third ownership of the Wheat Kings from partner Bob Cornell in 1992, and assumed sole ownership in 2000. A member of the WHL’s Board of Governors, McCrimmon also served as Chairman of the league’s Competition Committee.
The Plenty, Saskatchewan, native played two seasons in Brandon in the late seventies and was a member of the 1979 WHL Championship club before moving on to the University of Michigan from 1980-84, serving as team captain his senior year. He continues to serve as Owner and Governor of the Wheat Kings.
Meanwhile Thursday morning, McCrimmon was one of several people with Brandon ties to be named to this year’s Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame class.
Joining him were former Wheat Kings Marty Murray, Terry Yake, Trevor Kidd and Bob Fitchner. A Carman native, Fitchner also served as coach of the Brandon University Bobcats during the eighties.