The Kitchener Rangers announced Monday the resignation of head coach Mike Van Ryn, effective immediately.
A member of the Rangers family for two seasons as an associate coach from 2013-15, he took on the role of head coach for the 2015-16 season before deciding to step away from the team due to family reasons.
“It was tough to come to terms with this decision, but it was the right one for my family,” said Van Ryn.
“I enjoyed my time in Kitchener immensely. The organization, the staff, the fans; everything there was nothing short of first class.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity I did in Kitchener, and enjoyed watching our players grow and develop over the past three seasons.
“I’d like to thank Murray Hiebert and the entire organization for trusting me with guiding our team from a coaching standpoint, and I’m grateful to them for that.
“I’d also like to thank two very good coaches in Jay McKee and Dan Tkaczuk, and our assistant coach/general manager Mike McKenzie, who all made my job a lot easier.
“I’ll look back on my time with the Rangers organization fondly, but I’m confident that the decision I’ve made – albeit a hard one – is the right one for myself and my family.”
Rangers general manager Murray Hiebert said Van Ryn’s departure will certainly leave a void for players and the rest of the front office staff.
“It’s difficult news to hear, there’s no question about that,” said Hiebert, “but I certainly understand why Mike has made the choice he has, and I can’t fault him for it.
“I knew the day would come that he would take the next step from our organization, but I’m sorry it’s come so soon.
“Mike is a fantastic coach, any one of our players or staff members will tell you that. But he’s also a good man, which is what makes it so hard to see him go. Everyone here at the Rangers wish him and his family the very best in the future.”
Van Ryn would lead the Rangers to a 44-17-5-2 record in the 2015-16 regular season, followed by a five-game opening round playoff win over the Windsor Spitfires, and a hard fought second round series with the London Knights.
He was acknowledged for his positive results and effectiveness in his first season at the helm of the Rangers bench by being named one of three finalists for the Matt Leyden Trophy as OHL Coach of the Year.
The Rangers have not yet named a replacement for the vacant head coach position.
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