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Yachmenev and Blanchard to guide U18 Trappers this season

'Our goal is to not only develop better hockey players, but develop great young men as well'

Former North Bay Centennials star and NHLer Vitali Yachmenev has been named a new associate coach with the North Bay U18 AAA Trappers for the upcoming 2023-24 season, the association announced on Thursday at a press conference at Memorial Gardens. 

“It’s an exciting time for me. I’m looking forward to the season coming up and working with Guy.” 

Yachmenev joins longtime Trappers head coach Guy Blanchard behind the Trappers bench.  

“I believe in this program. I’ve been involved with this program for a long time. It’s a real game changer for some of these players to come in and get themselves an opportunity to move on to the next level if that is what they are interested in,” says Blanchard. 

The experienced duo takes over for Doug Sanders, who resigned from the U18 head coaching position in late April. 

Blanchard coached the U18 AAA Trappers to a Great North U18 title in 2018-19 and says, “I’ve got some great help and with Vitali’s experience our goal is to not only develop better hockey players, but develop great young men as well. We want to see the kids get better and get a good experience and work as a team.” 

 Yachmenev brings with him seven years of coaching experience from the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia and spent a portion of a season as an associate coach with the Powassan Voodoos in 2018.  

As a player, Yachmenev put up more than 200 points in two seasons of junior hockey in North Bay and helped the North Bay Centennials capture an OHL championship in 1994. 

Yachmenev says, “I’ve never worked with kids this age before, but I know Guy has a lot of experience with this age group and I will try to give them the best of my knowledge with what lies ahead for them and how they should prepare themselves for games, practices and their lives overall.” 

Yachmenev went on to play eight seasons in the NHL for both the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators before finishing off his playing career in the KHL.        

Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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