OLDS — Scott Atkinson is back as head coach of the Olds Grizzlys junior A hockey team after resigning at the end of August for health reasons.
Atkinson’s return was announced by the club last Thursday.
Atkinson will also serve as director of hockey operations.
Kyle Finch, hired in June, will be the team’s assistant coach. Dante Raposo will remain as the team’s part-time assistant coach, as he is coaching high-level minor hockey in Airdrie.
Grant McNeil will serve as general manager, a responsibility Atkinson also had previously.
“Scott and the hockey community have received fantastic news regarding his eyesight,” Friends of the Grizzlys president Josh Erdman said in a news release.
“Coach Atkinson has proven to be a work horse throughout his career. His dedication to the game of hockey, his players and the various hockey management groups have left his health requirements in a back seat position.
“Scott has put the team first in all situations which has left his eyesight issues to come to a point that he cannot disregard (them) anymore.”
The plan this season was to have Atkinson coach and mentor Finch, “passing along his vast knowledge of the game both on and off the ice at this level,” the release said.
“Kyle can coach hockey, there is no doubt about that,” Erdman said in the news release.
“It’s the off-ice commitments, including league interactions, community commitments, dealing with young men who are like spirited racehorses, as well as a multitude of other responsibilities.”
The release noted that Atkinson’s health situation will require him to be absent for at least two weeks in early October.
Finch and other members of the club’s support staff will fill in during that time “while Scott takes the time required to allow his eyes to mend,” the release said.