Rocky Hockey: the return

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Edmonton is getting another dose of Rocky Hockey.

Yesterday the Edmonton Oil Kings announced they have hired Rocky Thompson as their assistant coach.

Thompson, 29, a native of Sherwood Park, played in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos before moving on to brief NHL stints with the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers.

Thompson spent the majority of his pro playing career in the AHL, which included a season with the Edmonton Roadrunners.

"Rocky had contacted me earlier in the year during the season and expressed some interest in the job and gave me the heads up that he would possibly be available," said Oil Kings GM Bob Green.

"We had to go through hiring a head coach first, but after we hired Steve Pleau, we had the opportunity to sit down with the different candidates, with Rocky being one of them."

Thompson played for Pleau two years ago with the Peoria Rivermen where he scored a goal and added four assists with 247 penalty minutes in 59 games. Last season, Thompson had a goal, seven assists and 127 penalty minutes with the Rivermen.

In 25 NHL games between Calgary and Florida, Thompson failed to register a point but did amass 117 penalty minutes.

"Rocky knows the Western Hockey League and he has a lot of experience as a professional hockey player," Green said.

"The thing with Rocky is that he had to work extremely hard at whatever he's accomplished in pro hockey and talking to him, I think he's going to bring that as a coach.

"He'll use the same work ethic and energy level to make himself a good coach."

The six-foot-two, 200-pound enforcer was a fan favourite in every market he played in, including Thompson's one year with the Roadrunners during the NHL lockout.

His playing career should give Thompson a good rapport with the players.

"I think the players will feel comfortable going to Rocky and I think he's going to be a great buffer," said Green.


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