Barrie Colts hire ex-NHL player as new head coach

Former NHL player Warren Rychel is taking over as the head coach for the Barrie Colts after Dale Hawerchuk announced that he’ll be taking a leave of absence this season for health reasons.

“With Dale Hawerchuk taking a leave from behind the bench, we felt we needed to bring in a seasoned hockey veteran to help lead the team this year,” Howie Campbell, the president of the OHL team, said in a statement. “We consulted with many people, including Dale Hawerchuk, and we all agreed that Warren is the right man for the job.”

Barrie Colts head coach taking leave of absence in upcoming season for health reasons

Rychel played in the NHL from 1987 to 1999 and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996.

The hockey veteran was also the owner and general manager of the Windsor Spitfires from 2006 to 2019. Under his leadership, the team won two OHL championships, in 2009 and 2010, and three Memorial Cup championships in 2009, 2010 and 2017.

“Although I’m thrilled to be joining the Colts, this is not the best circumstance for anyone,” Rychel said in a statement. “I have huge respect for Dale Hawerchuk and first and foremost my thoughts are with him and his family.”

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Campbell said he’s confident Rychel will help to guide the Colts to where they need to be.

“I know this is a top notch OHL team,” Rychel added. “I’ll do my best to work with the organization and the players to bring home a great season.”

The Barrie Colts are set to start their 25th season on Sept. 21.

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