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Laxdal Named Head Coach for WHL's Oil Kings

June 18, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

(Boise, ID) - After five seasons as the head coach of the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads, Derek Laxdal has accepted the head coaching position with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.

The WHL is an elite major-junior hockey league that annually produces top-flight NHL talent, including current NHL'ers Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Mike Modano (Dallas), Shea Weber (Nashville), and Patrick Marleau (San Jose). Several WHL players are projected first-round draft picks in the upcoming NHL draft, including Edmonton's Mark Pysyk. Laxdal himself played five seasons in the WHL, skating for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Portland Winterhawks, and New Westminster Bruins (now the Tri-Cities Americans).

"There will always be a spot in my heart for the community and people of the Treasure Valley," Laxdal said. "Words can't express the appreciation I have for the Idaho Steelheads - the ownership group, the staff, the front office, the players, and the terrific fans who made my experience so great."

Laxdal compiled a record of 217-108-35 with the Steelheads, including a Kelly Cup championship in 2007. He led Idaho to a record of 48-17-7 during the 2009-2010 season, the top mark in the entire ECHL, and once again reached the Kelly Cup finals. The Stonewall, Manitoba, native earned the league's Coach of the Year award for his efforts.

"The results speak for themselves," Idaho Sports Properties president Eric Trapp said. "Coach Laxdal has meant a lot to this organization and this community. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts the past five seasons. We wish continued success for Coach, his wife, and his family."

The Steelheads won at least 40 games during every season of Laxdal's tenure. Trapp said the search for his replacement begins immediately.

"We have high expectations here," he added. "A successful candidate will be able to build on the successes of Coach Laxdal."

Ticket plans for the 2010-2011 season are available right now, starting at just $275 per seat for all 36 home games during the regular season. Partial-season plans are also available. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to for more information.

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