Dan Price is a lawyer who passed the bar.
The bar set by the Victoria Royals of Western Hockey League.
The Royals stayed in-house, opting for continuity, in selecting their new head coach. After one season as Dave Lowry’s understudy on the Royals bench, Price is being elevated to the head coaching job after Lowry departed May 30 to become assistant coach of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
“I am very similar in philosophy to Dave [Lowry] and Cam [Royals GM Cam Hope] and that’s why this worked out,” said Price.
Price, however, has no WHL head coaching experience.
“Everything comes with a first time of doing it,” he said.
Price’s lack of head coaching experience in the league did not deter Hope.
“It kept coming back to Price . . . the candidate that fit best was right under our nose,” said Hope, who said he fielded numerous expressions of interest in the job.
“Dan Price has a unique skill set. He essentially had a year-long audition. He ticked all the right boxes for us. He has been an assistant coach in the WHL and a GM in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. You often hear that people are overdue. That can be said for Dan.”
Hope cited Price’s “familiarity with the WHL” after the latter’s two seasons as assistant coach of the Tri City Americans from 2012-14 and three seasons as assistant coach with the Chilliwack Bruins. The latter brought Price full circle, back to the Royals franchise, which started out as the Bruins before relocating to the Island in 2011-12.
Price cited that familiarity with some of the Royals staff as one of the main reasons he came to Victoria after two seasons in U Sports with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The pull of the rink was greater than the pull of the court.
“I enjoyed law, but really missed the competitive nature of athletics,” the former litigator said.
“Sport is similar to litigation in that both are competitive.”
In another Island connection, Price is a surfer whose mother, Ronni, lives in Qualicum Beach. She was at Monday’s press conference announcing her son’s ascension to the
Royals head coaching job.
The studious Price was actually elevated to the de facto head job late last season on an interim basis and was winless at 0-2-1 when Lowry missed three games due to being
quarantined with the mumps.
“We obviously asked [Lowry] his opinion, and he said Dan was the perfect choice for this organization,” said Hope.
The new Victoria head coach said fans will see a lot of Lowry’s style retained.
“Tempo is very important and we will have a skilled team that is quick with good balance and depth,” said Price.
Price is a 42-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., who has scouted for the Regina Pats and also has international experience as assistant coach with silver-medallist Team Pacific at the 2009 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. Price was also head coach and GM of the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2009-12.
He was a goaltender in his playing days with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the B.C. Hockey League and Fort St. John Huskies of the Rocky Mountain Junior League before playing in U Sports for the Regina Cougars from 1995 to 1998. Price graduated from the University of Regina law school in 2001.
Price will become the third head coach of the Royals since the franchise has been on the Island.
Marc Habscheid was the first bench boss in Victoria, a holdover from Chilliwack days, and went 24-41-7 in 2011-12 before losing in the first round of the playoffs to Kamloops.
Habscheid was replaced the next season by Lowry, who left Victoria as the all-time winningest coach in franchise history with a regular-season record of 199-112-22 over five seasons and was twice named WHL coach of the year. The Royals never missed the playoffs under Lowry, although they never progressed past the second round. He was also assistant coach and head coach of Canada’s national junior team during his Royals tenure.
Meanwhile, it was also announced former NHLer Doug Bodger from Chemainus will go from being a Royals part-time assistant coach to full-time head coach under Price.
“I am looking forward to working with Dan. With a core of players returning, I am hoping to teach the kids and help any way I can,” said the Island product, who played more than 1,000 games in the NHL.
The Royals also announced that Ryan Guenter has been named the club’s new head scout. He has been scouting with the franchise since 2009 when it was in Chilliwack. Guenter replaces Grant Armstrong, who left last season to become GM of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.