Blazers' Gill Accepts FPHL Coaching Position
The Oklahoma City Blazers and Owner and General Manager Gary Gill have announced that Gill has accepted a position as Associate Head Coach of the Columbus River Dragons of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. As announced earlier, Gill's transition from the bench of the Blazers to a General Manager position comes as part of his move to the FPHL.
"The Blazers primary objective has always been about the development of our players, and in helping them to progress to their next step in their hockey careers," said Gill. "We've established a proven track record in moving our players to the collegiate ranks into both the NCAA and ACHA, and this move is only going to help provide another layer of advancement for our players into the professional ranks as well.
"Moving to the front office into a General Manager position allows me to stay actively involved with the Blazers, and having Ty [Smith] move into the head coaching position allows a seamless transition on the ice for our players. This move is only going to help continue the legacy of the Oklahoma City Blazers, and establish our team, and Oklahoma City as a whole, as a premier hockey destination for players in their careers."
Gill took over the Blazers prior to the 2017-18 season, and would go on to send one of the biggest groups of players to the collegiate ranks in team history, with more than half of those commitments going to NCAA schools.
Prior to taking over OKC, Gill had spent the previous five seasons in the junior ranks with the Cheyenne Stampede (WSHL), Vermont Lumberjacks (EHL), and the Florida Jr. Blades (MetroJHL).
"Coaching juniors the last few years, progressing players, it will almost be the same thing as what I'm doing [in Columbus] because the FPHL is a developmental league too for players trying to reach that next level," Gill was quoted as saying.
The River Dragons will mark Gill's second trip as a coach in the FPHL, as he previously coached the Rome Frenzy in the FPHL's inaugural season in 2010-11.