Stratford Cullitons’ bench boss Phil Westman was named coach-of-the-year in the Midwestern Conference this past season.
Now, he’s ready to further broaden his hockey horizons as the Cullitons’ director of hockey operations. The Stratford Hockey Club made the announcement in a press release last Friday morning.
“I am honoured to be chosen and I look forward to my new role with the Cullitons,” said Westman, who has been head coach of the team since 2007.
“I look forward to working with our board, management team, coaches and staff to ensure our winning tradition continues. I will work hard to put an exciting and winning team on the ice for our fans.”
The appointment becomes effective Tuesday, April 15. He replaces Jason Lott, who did an outstanding job as DHO over the past five seasons. Cullitons reached the league final in four of those years, including this past season.
Lott is stepping down to primarily spend more time with his family. He informed the team of his decision in February. Lott joined the team as head scout just prior to the 2007-08 season. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Major Jr. ‘A’ (OHL) teams.
Westman will be joined by General Manager Randy Petrie and Assistant GM Murray Patterson in the administration of the Cullitons’ hockey operations.
“I believe that Phil is an excellent choice for the role of Director of Hockey Operations and he will build on our past and lead us to continued success on the ice in the future,” Cullitons’ president Dan Mathieson said.
In an interview with the Gazette Friday, Westman said he will continue to be the team’s head coach. He has been a member of the Cullitons’ coaching staff for 14 years—dating back to 2000.
The 48-year-old Milverton native estimates he has coached in approximately 1,000 games with the team.
“I have a huge void to fill with the great job Jason did,” Westman said. “But we’ve surrounded ourselves with really good people.
“It’s the key to success, in hockey or business. You need key people around you, that you work well with.”
–Cullitons held their annual team awards banquet this past Monday night.
–Cullitons are holding their spring camp for local prospects next Wednesday, Apr. 23.
The team’s annual spring mini-camp is Apr. 25-27, also at the Allman Arena.