Kisio's reign extended by Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

Kelly Kisio will be back for a 10th season with the Calgary Hitmen.

And it likely won't be his last.

The Hitmen GM/head coach signed a multi-year contract with the WHL club yesterday.

Kisio, 47, said he took some time during the off-season to weigh the pros and cons of wearing both hats again this season.

"The coaching and general manager duties take a lot out of you," he said. "You're out and about, and you don't see your family as much as you want to.

"So I had to sit back and decide whether I wanted to do both jobs again and see whether Ken (King, Flames/Hitmen president) wanted me to do both jobs.

"He wanted me to so I sat back and thought about if I could put it together again."

Kisio took over as the club's GM in 1998 and led the team to a Memorial Cup berth in his first season.

The Hitmen have a 393-236-56-35 record under his watch.

He took over the bench duties in 2004, after firing Richard Kromm, and takes a 120-67-9-20 coaching record into this season.

Having complete trust in his scouting staff, led by Brad Whelen, has allowed Kisio to succeed in the dual role.

Assistant coach Dave Lowry, entering his third season behind the bench, is also more comfortable in his role.

"Brad does a great job for us," he said. "And if I do get out, which will be a little more this year, I know Dave is quite capable of looking after the squad."

The Hitmen have never missed the playoffs under Kisio and he doesn't expect that streak to end in 2007-08.

"I'm fairly confident we'll have a good hockey team," he said.

"I think our defence and our goaltending is solid. The addition of (d-man Keith) Seabrook really helps."

Leading scorer Ryan White will return but he'll need some help in the offensive zone.

With Brodie Dupont graduating to the pro ranks, the team's two Europeans, Slovenian Bostjan Golicic and Slovak Martin Stepan, will be key.

"The question mark is will we be able to score goals like we have in the past.

"We'll have a younger group of guys and we'll have to see how good the Europeans are when they come over."

Rookie camp opens Aug. 29.


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