The Abbotsford Pilots have revealed the team’s brand new coaching staff.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League team announced Mark Goble as the team’s new head coach and Doug Cole and Mike Vial as his assistants. They posted the news on April 19.
Goble has been involved at the administrative and coaching level of hockey for over 30 years, originally working with the Team Canada Olympic Men’s hockey program under Dave King. From there he scouted for the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
He then moved onto the British Columbia Hockey League, coaching and managing in Penticton, New Westminster, Cowichan Valley, Powell River, Burnaby and Coquitlam. He since coached in the PJHL with the Grandview Steelers and Port Moody Panthers.
Goble has also worked with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Elite Hockey League and most recently served as a U18 prep assistant coach with Abbotsford’s Yale Hockey Academy.
Cole was a netminder for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons in the early-1980s and helped the team win the 1983 NAIA National Ice Hockey Championship. He went on to play professionally in Europe but a knee injury ended his playing days.
He remained in the game, and worked as an assistant coach with the BC Best Ever Program, Penticton Knights, New West Royals and Burnaby Bulldogs of the BCJHL (BCHL) before accepting a position with the Vancouver Canucks as a Video Coach from 1993 to 1999.
He has since helped design VEGA (Video Enhanced Game Analysis) and hopes to bring those video coaching skills to the Pilots.
Vial was a member of the Cambrian College Golden Shield men’s hockey team that won a national title in 1997. He went on to play professionally in the Central Hockey League and had signed with a team in Italy but then a heart issue ended his playing career.
In the years since, he has volunteered for Port Moody Minor Hockey and has worked with players at the U15 and U18 levels.
The trio take over a Pilots team that finished with a record of 8-34-1-0 in 2021-22 and failed to qualify for the playoffs. The team stumbled in early-2022 and went 1-13 in January and February.
Longtime Pilots head coach Jim Cowden quietly stepped down from his role earlier this season. Cowden coached the Pilots to a Keystone Cup and a Cyclone Taylor Cup in 2011-12.