UPDATED — Vees hire Nick Fuher as assistant coach

Nick Fuher joins the Penticton Vees as an assistant coach while Ramsey is added to leadership group with A

Nick Fuher

Nick Fuher

Nick Fuher is reconnecting with his past as he joins the Penticton Vees an assistant coach.

It was announced Monday that Fuher has been hired to replace Michael Hengen to work with the Vees’ defence. In joining the organization, Fuher gets another chance to work with Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson.

Between 1998 and 2000, Fuher, couldn’t recall the specific year, he coached Team Northwest AAA based out of Phoenix, Ariz. during the summer with Harbinson.

Fuher, who grew up in Grand Forks, N.D. said he applied for the position because of that connection and hearing about the Vees’ program. Upon learning of the opening, he contacted Harbinson immediately.

“I had a great time working with him through that experience,” said Fuher.

Fuher brings 15 years’ coaching experience, most recently in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as an assistant coach with the Winkler Flyers. His career behind the bench started with the USHL in 2007 with the Lincoln Stars. Fuher returned to his hometown in 2008 to work as an assistant at Grand Forks Central High School. During Fuher’s three seasons at Grand Forks Central, the Knights amassed a 30-9-3-2 record and won the North Dakota State championship in 2010. In 2012, Fuher coached the North Dakota development team.

Fuher said he is thrilled to work with a talented group of players on the Vees’ roster.

“This squad looks to be very deep with speed and skill,” he said in a team statement. “That brings high expectations, which we will work together to achieve.”

Fuher, 33, is excited to be coming to Penticton and join the Vees. With the teams they assemble each year, he said it’s a great opportunity for him.

Fuher transitioned into coaching after a career cut short by injury. A defenceman in his playing days, Fuher split his junior career between the MJHL and the USHL with Winkler and Lincoln.  With the Flyers, Fuher put up 55 points and was the runner-up for the 1998-1999 MJHL Rookie of the Year award and was named a second team all-star. In Lincoln, he tallied 43 points in 105 career games and was named a USHL all-star in 2000. He moved up to the college ranks, playing four years at the University of North Dakota where he amassed 81 points in 153 career games for the Fighting Sioux.

A 2012 Allan Cup winner with the South East Prairie Thunder, Fuher intends to bring his offensive acumen to help develop players and break down the small aspects of the game. Fuher said he feels he can relate to players since he recently played with the Thunder.

Harbinson said Fuher was the perfect choice for the job.

“It was exciting to see the quality of applicants that this position attracted,” said Harbinson in a team statement. “Nick Fuher possessed all the attributes we were looking for in an assistant coach, our program and more importantly our players are very fortunate to have Nick Fuher on staff.

Ramsey gets an A in leadership

The Vees also announced that Jack Ramsey will join co-captains Cody DePourcq and Patrick Sexton as an assistant captain.

Ramsey is coming off a rookie season in which he put up 25 points in 56 regular season games and developed into what the Vees felt was one of their best defensive forwards.

The future Minnesota Golden Gopher elevated his play in the BCHL playoffs, where he compiled eight points in 11 games. In June, Ramsey, son of former NHLer Mike Ramsey, was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round, 208th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Harbinson said Ramsey exemplifies all the qualities of a leader.

“Like our two co-captains, Jack comes from a family that is immersed in the game of hockey,” said Harbinson. “Jack had an attitude throughout his recruiting process, his rookie season and now off-season that has always focused on team first and wanting to get better every day. Jack will be a great addition to our leadership group.”

“It’s a huge honour, especially when we have so many good character guys in our dressing room,” said Ramsey. “It will be challenging, but exciting to take on a leadership role.”

Ramsey intends to fulfill his role by giving the team energy, which at times may require a few words on the bench or leading by example on the ice.