The new Cochrane Generals coaching staff has been named and is currently gearing up for the 2024-25 season.  

New head coach Derek Bell, associated coach Jarvis Bender and assistant coach Connor Stephenson are now under contract and have begun scouting and preparations for the return to the ice. It will begin in early July with casual skates, followed by camps.

Bell comes to the Gens with 17 years coaching experience and was most recently head coach of the Calgary Royals gold team.

"I've been living in Cochrane now for the last 10 years, but coached 17 years in Calgary," says Bell. "So I was making the commute, but always cheered for the Gens, even though I coached in the same kind of league against them. Being local and being a hometown guy, I've always cheered for the Gens."

Over the years, he's also coached against the Gens.

"I actually got to coach against Dana Boothby back in the day when I went to the provincials against them, so I definitely know the Gens' physical way of playing a great hockey game."

"I like the team's winning attitude and that's what I want to bring to this town, a winning attitude, skilled play, and hard-hitting, physical hockey."

He's got extensive connection in the Calgary area that he hopes to use to benefit the Cochrane club. It all starts with casual skates.

"I'm the new guy on the block, so I want to get out there, earn the respect of the guys and then obviously see some new faces from Calgary come out here too that I've known for a few years that are excited to come skate."

Bender signingJarvis Bender signed on as the Gens associated coach.

Bender is known in the Cochrane community. He was with P3 Sports for several years and has been coaching minor hockey teams for the last nine years, working his way up through the ranks to U18. It included being the inaugural coach for the U11 AA Bow Valley Timberwolves.

He's now fired up to take the next step to coach junior hockey.

"I was a goaltender growing up," says Bender. "I always joke, I saw the game from the net or from the bench, so it was a perfect transition into coaching."

He saw the Gens a couple of times when he played half a season for the HJHL's Stettler Lightning following a stint in the KHL.

"I think we only played the Generals two times in my tenure, and they beat us both times. The Gens have a pretty rich history. They always have pretty solid rosters."

He's also scouted with the Calgary Canucks, who recently won the AJHL championship, and will bring that scouting experience to the Gens.

Gens coaching staffConnor Stephenson, right, is returning for his second year as assistant coach.

Stephenson is the only returning coach, who was behind the bench for the first-time last season. Before that. he was a well-known impact player for the Gens.

"I think I learned a lot last year from Kurtis (Jones) and (Erik) Krigel and I'm very excited to start this year," says Stephenson. 

He believes strides were made last season in team building.

"Creating a brotherhood and team bonding like that only makes you team better on and off the ice."

Gens president Rick Richards says it was important to get the coaching staff in place as soon as possible after Kurtis Jones ended his tenure as head coach and general manager. He says they a strong response to the posting and conducted interviews over the span of a week before making a decision.

"The entire board is very excited about the future direction were heading," says Richards.

The spring is an important time for recruiting and scouting prospects.

"We had to make sure we had our crew intact to get the ground running and get to some of those showcases.

Angela Sellwood has been named general manager.

group shotThe new coaching staff with the Cochrane Generals board of directors.