For three seasons, Kelly Kisio has had the luxury of working
side-by-side with the new coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

On Tuesday, Kisio announced that he was stepping aside as
coach of the Hitmen to concentrate on his duties as the Western Hockey League
squad’s general manager and that Dave Lowry would step in as the new head


“At the end of the day, I think it’s probably time,” said
Kisio in regards to stepping away from his four-year stint as bench boss of the
Hitmen and handing the reigns over to Lowry, who spent two years as an
assistant before taking on the title of associate head coach this past season.

“I know Dave, he’s ready,” Kisio continued. “He’s a good
coach now. He’s going to be a great coach. I think he’s going to be an NHL
coach down the line.”

While Lowry confirmed that he has aspirations of one day
coaching in the NHL, he’s looking forward to becoming the sixth head coach in
franchise history.

“This is an exciting time for our hockey club,” Lowry said.
“We have a lot of players coming back. It’s going to be a challenge and it’s
going to be a good push. I’m excited and hopefully the kids coming in are

Along with assistant coach Joel Otto, Lowry had a large part
in helping to lead the Hitmen to a 46-21-4 record this past season and he
credited Kisio for allowing him to develop as a coach by getting involved on a
day-to-day basis.

“As a head coach he allowed his assistants [to have] a big role,” said
Lowry, who played 19 seasons and 1,084 games in the NHL with five different
teams, including the Calgary Flames. “He put a lot of trust and a lot of faith
in my ability and he allowed me to manage the back end and work with the
defence. I’ve gone three years and I don’t think he questioned any of the
decisions I made. From a learning standpoint, I was very grateful.”

In turn, Kisio is pleased that he can hand over the coaching
job to someone as qualified as Lowry.

“He came right out of the NHL and stepped right into a
coaching role,” Kisio said. “I think he’s done a great job and progressed a
lot. We’ve taught each other quite a bit I think over the last three years.”

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