White Rock Whalers head coach Jason Rogers has been named the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s coach of the year, after leading his team to a playoff spot and a 20-point boost in the standings.
The announcement was made April 3.
Rogers has been the Whalers head coach in each of the team’s two seasons in the junior ‘B’ PJHL, and in a news release was quick to share the accolade with his coaching staff, which includes assistant coaches Jim Babcock, Mitchel Knoepfel and Julien Feijo.
“I look at this award as a staff one,” Rogers said. “Their tireless efforts need to be recognized.”
This season – which ended abruptly in the middle of the playoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Rogers led the Whalers to a record of 24-18-0-2 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss), which was good for 50 points and a playoff spot.
In the first-round of the playoffs, the Whalers were given the unenviable task of taking on the first-place North Vancouver Wolf Pack, a team that set records while losing just three games in regulation all season.
“Our coaching staff led by Jay was always prepared,” said team captain Calder Newson.
Rogers said he was “very surprised” to be chosen as the PJHL’s top coach for the 2019/20 season, though Whalers owner Ronnie Paterson said that he was “not as surprised as I was proud.”
“Jay has a very, very high hockey IQ,” Paterson continued, adding that the coach shares his philosophy of developing not just “good hockey players (but also) players of good character.”