Oil Kings get their man

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

The Edmonton Oil Kings have found their bench boss.

Steve Pleau, an assistant with the Spokane Chiefs last season, is expected to be announced as the Oil Kings head coach this week.

Sources tell Sun Media Pleau has signed a three-year contract with the club.

"I think he'll work well with younger players," said Oil Kings general manager Bob Green last week following the WHL expansion draft, careful not to reveal the identity of his new coach. "I think he'll be able to motivate the kids and get them to go hard every night."

Green could not be reached for comment last night.

Pleau, the son of St. Louis Blues senior vice president and general manager Larry Pleau, left his position with the Chiefs last month. Spokane finished the year with a 36-28-4-4 record, good for fourth place in the U.S. Division. The Chiefs then fell 4-2 to the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

"We expected when we hired Steve it would be short term," Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "Steve is a very qualified coach and we wish him the best in the future."

Pleau coached under Bill Peters in Spokane who was recently given an extension by the Chiefs.

"Steve proved to be a great asset for our organization," Peters told the Spokesman-Review.

"His experience from pro-hockey allowed us to look at things in a different light and allowed us to take a step forward as a team."

Prior to coaching with the Chiefs, Pleau was the associate head coach of the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League.

In his one season in Peoria, Pleau helped the Rivermen to a 46-26-3-5 regular record before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Before that Pleau had been an assistant coach with the Worcester IceCats since 1998. Worcester moved to Peoria prior to the 2005-2006 season.

Born in Seabrook, New Hampshire, Pleau played four years for the University of New Hampshire before an injury ended his playing career.

Pleau began his coaching career as an assistant with UNH.

The Oil Kings, who are the WHL's latest expansion franchise, open their inaugural Western Hockey League season in September.


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