Mark MacMillan has been hired as the head coach and general manager of the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team. (Contributed)

Mark MacMillan has been hired as the head coach and general manager of the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team. (Contributed)

MacMillan hired as head coach of Summerland team

New coach had played professional hockey in Europe

The Summerland Steam hockey team has hired a new head coach and general manager.

On Oct. 27, the Junior B team announced Mark MacMillan has been hired for the role.

MacMillan, originally from Penticton, has had six years of professional hockey, including the last two seasons in Denmark playing for the Herning Blue Fox. Earlier, he played in the B.C. Hockey League with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Penticton Vees. His career also saw him play in the ECHL as well as the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden and DEL2 in Germany.

MacMillan, 29, was drafted 113th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2010. He then spent four seasons with one of the NCAA’s top men’s hockey programs at the University of North Dakota before turning pro with the Canadiens’ American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John’s Ice Caps.

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“We are lucky to find and extremely excited to announce the hiring of Mark MacMillan,” said Sean Paxman, president of the Summerland Steam. “His experiences moving up through the ranks will provide our players with up close and personal accounts and experiences on how to maneuver through junior hockey and beyond. His commitment to all aspects of development, skills, strength and conditioning will give our players the stepping stones needed towards reaching their goals.“

As a player, MacMillan had envisioned himself as a coach.

“The opportunity came up and obviously being local, and knowing Summerland and wanting to get into coaching, it seemed like the right time and a great opportunity,” he said.

MacMillan has been gaining coaching and player development experience as he co-owns Skate with Power with Lars Hepso, who played in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with the Penticton Lakers. Along with assisting Hepso working with players on their skating, he also helps them with their shooting and stick handling skills.

He believes his playing experience will be a factor in developing Steam players.

“I think having those different experiences and going through a bunch of things in life can help me help younger players and share my experiences with them, what it takes to get there,” says MacMillan. “One thing I’m really excited for as a head coach is I was always a leader during my playing career. I often wore a letter on my jersey. I saw myself in this role.”

He will assume his responsibilities immediately and be behind the bench when Summerland hosts the North Okanagan Knights on Saturday, Oct. 30.

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