The West Kelowna Warriors have hired Ayrton Nikkel as an assistant coach and Paige Shannon as athletic therapist.
Nikkel, 23, comes to the Warriors after playing in the Western and B.C. hockey leagues. After his final season with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns in 2017, the Kelowna native transferred to UBC Okanagan.
“I returned home because the Okanagan Valley will always have my heart, and the UBC Okanagan campus and their professors are the highest quality,” Nikkel said. “I have been teaching on-ice skills to players of all ages for the better part of a decade now and the opportunity to teach the game to experienced players was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
Nikkel has had a previous relationship with Warriors head coach and general manager Brandon West, who coached Nikkel on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
“Ayrton gave everything he had as a player and I look forward to seeing him develop as a coach now,” West said.
The Warriors also welcome Shannon to the Central Okanagan. After graduating from University of Winnipeg in 2016, she spent time with the Olds Grizzlys midget club, Olds Mavericks lacrosse, Olds College Broncos women’s hockey team and was part of the medical staff at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer this past February.
In addition, the Warriors are returning goaltending coach Chad Carder for a sixth season with the Warriors.