There have been rumours for months now, but the Swift Current Broncos made it official on Friday that Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros will be leaving the team.
Just two days after the Broncos were eliminated from the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Regina, the Broncos held a press conference to announce that Viveiros would be joining the Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach.
Viveiros thanked his coaching staff as well as Director of Hockey Operations, Jamie Porter, and Director of Business Operations, Dianne Sletten during his opening comments on Friday.
“So thankful to have had this opportunity to have worked here in Swift Current and made some lifelong friends. Always going to be a Bronco for now and forever. Certainly looking forward to new challenges going forward, but my heart is always going to be here in Swift Current here and always going to be close ties here in Swift Current. Thank you very much for everything.”
Viveiros is excited to join the staff of Todd McLellan, who is also a former Swift Current Broncos head coach.
“My short time being able to talk with them and talking to other people in the NHL say that this is a really good staff and an opportunity for me to grow as a coach and learn and along the way hopefully help them out.”
“The success that we had this last two seasons doesn’t happen without Ryan Smith, Jamie Heward, and probably our other associate coach in Jamie LeBlanc. Without him we don’t survive in the most important part of our team with what he does in the dressing room and also on the outside stuff with our kids and that,” he added.
In just his second season of coaching in the Western Hockey League, Viveiros led the Broncos all way to the Memorial Cup and was the recipient of the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL Coach of the Year. Viveiros led the Broncos to a 48-17-5-2 mark this season, the second best record in the WHL and the second highest point total (103) in franchise history. The Broncos finished the season ranked fourth in the CHL Top 10.
They defeated the Regina Pats, regular season champion Moose Jaw Warriors, Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Everett Silvertips to win their first WHL championship since 1993 while playing a WHL record 26 playoff games and then lost three one-goal games at the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina.
“So proud of the way our kids handled themselves this year on ice, and more importantly off ice,” said Viveiros on Friday. “I thought our kids were great ambassadors for the city of Swift Current, the Broncos organization, and the Western Hockey League here. They’re great, great young kids.”
Viveiros hoped the team would be remembered for how that got to the Memorial Cup when he addressed the media in Regina after a frenetic 6-5 loss to the host Pats.
“Certainly what we accomplished before here, this road that we had to take to get here, 26 playoff games, a triple overtime, a double, and three single overtimes just to get here, we were telling our kids just the other day that we would never change that route for anything. We’ve learned so much as a group about ourselves of dealing with new adversities, players dealing with injuries, not even to mention the Humboldt tragedy, how it deeply affected the hockey community all through Canada and the world, but also our own group too. Some of our players lost some dear friends and how these young men stepped up and supported each other through a time that was difficult for everybody, that journey will make those kids that much stronger. I’m not just talking about hockey, I’m talking as people going forward and that’s what we’re more proud about more than anything.”
In his first season as head coach, Viveiros led the Broncos to a 39-23-4-6 record and a trip to the second round in the playoffs in 2016-17. He will leave the Broncos with an 87-40-9-8 regular season record and 23 playoff wins.
“It’s an incredible organization to work for and a great city, great hockey city,” said Viveiros on Wednesday after the Broncos were eliminated from the Memorial Cup. “It’s what grassroots or hockey is all about in Canada, small little cities like Swift Current and other small markets in the CHL.”
Viveiros was the eighth head coach in Swift Current Broncos history. He had previously coached in Europe, most recently with Ingolstadt, DEL in Germany during the 2015-16 season. He was also the Head Coach of the Austrian Men’s National Team from 2011-14, leading them to an appearance at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
“I’d like to thank the Bronco organization for taking a chance on me two seasons ago,” said Viveiros. “Coming back from Europe, it wasn’t easy to get to North America in terms as far as hockey. They took a chance on me and entrusted me with an opportunity here in Swift Current. Without the Broncos having faith in me, and also the coaching staff and what we have in place here, this is not possible. Our group is, I’m called the so called ‘head coach,’ but that’s not the case here, I have associate coaches and we all share duties in what we do and delegate different responsibilities within our team.”
Viveiros is a native of St. Albert and played four seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders, where he was named the WHL Player of the Year in 1985-86.
“Well I think any time you get an opportunity to go to the NHL you certainly have to look at it,” said Viveiros on Friday at the announcement. “Their a real good organization. They are from my hometown. It’s something where I grew up watching them and it was a special place in my heart for the Oilers, I was always watching them and always been a fan of them too. More importantly too, I think they have an opportunity to win real soon. I think last year was a year that they all agree that wasn’t something that anybody expected, but I think that team has an opportunity win real quick and real fast again.”
The Broncos also announced that Director of Business Operations Dianne Sletten will be transitioning from her current role. She has the distinction of having served as the first female Assistant General Manager in the WHL.
“It has been an amazing six years for sure,” said Sletten. “I never would have thought at the time that it would end with such an amazing year and being a part of a WHL championship team is an unbelievable experience from being a part of the organization, but also of course being one of the biggest fans of the Broncos for sure.”
“Very looking forward to what might happen next for me. It’s been an amazing time and certainly not going anywhere or leaving the community, so I’m here to help with that transition for sure for as long as needed,” she added.
The Broncos are now inviting applications for Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel and the position of Director of Business Operations.