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Fiddler Steps Down

Photo Credit Kelowna Rockets

Given the changes of late in the hockey world we are hearing that the Kelowna Rockets Assistant Coach Vernon Fiddler will not be returning behind the bench for the coming season. 

In a statement released by the Rockets, President and GM Bruce Hamilton mentioned “Vernon will not be returning for the 2021022 season as he wants to spend more time with his Family.”

The press release is below sent out by the Rockets.

“I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to the Hamilton’s for providing me with a home within the Kelowna Rockets family,” said Fiddler. “I am grateful for the early years and the guidance they gave me to develop into a hockey player, which in turn earned me a successful playing career.  When offered the opportunity to coach with this organization I was both honored and excited.”

He continued “During these two years as an assistant coach, I have developed and learned many valuable assets that will aid me in the future. But most importantly, I am so proud to have been a part of this group of players and staff that overcame the adversity of a pandemic to rise above.”

“At this time I am leaving my position with the Kelowna Rockets to take more time to be with my family. I wish the Kelowna Rockets and the Hamilton family all the best moving forward.”

Fiddler was named a Rockets assistant coach on July 3, 2019, after serving as an organizational coach with the Dallas and Texas Stars. 

His primary focus with Kelowna was the forward units and power play. The Rockets went 39-33-4-3 over the last two seasons.

Hamilton mentioned “We’re certainly disappointed that he’s leaving, but we fully understand that he and his family want to move back to Texas and we’re going to miss him and I know the players are really going to miss him, he has life experiences in the game that all of our players aspire to have. We were fortunate to have his upbeat and positive personality with us for two years.”

Fiddler, played 14 seasons as a forward in the NHL, played for the Rockets organization beginning in 1997-98 and ending in 2000-01.

Fiddler, was an alternate captain for the Stars. He also led the Stars penalty killing unit, playing a team-high 178 minutes of penalty killing time. 

His 120 shorthanded faceoff wins were the 8th most in the NHL, trailing names like Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar and Ryan Kesler. 

Fiddler’s four shorthanded points (2g, 2a) were more than Bergeron, Kopitar and Kesler had last season. 

The Stars are missing Fiddler on the PK this season. They rank 27th in the league with a 76.7% PK rate.

The Rockets will look to fill the vacant assistant coaching position over the summer. Resumes can be emailed to bruceh@kelownarockets.com—no phone calls, please.