Calgary – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, announced today that former General Manager and Head Coach of the Prince Albert Raiders and Red Deer Rebels Terry Simpson, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 – 11 WHL Governors Award. The WHL Governors Award is presented annually to an individual who, through his outstanding services as a builder of the League and achievements in the game, has contributed to the growth and development of the WHL.
In 1972, Simpson agreed on a temporary basis to coach the fledgling Prince Albert Raiders, then of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. In a short period of time, Simpson led the Junior ‘A’ Raiders to five National Championship Centennial Cup finals, capturing the title four times. The success of the Junior ‘A’ Raiders, in which Simpson was instrumental, launched the community-owned team to obtain a WHL franchise for the 1982-83 season. With Simpson at the helm, the Raiders experienced the same rise to supremacy in the WHL and Canadian Hockey League. The Raiders won WHL and Memorial Cup Championships in 1985, just three years after joining the League. In total, the two time WHL Coach of the Year (1984 and 1986) spent 15 years coaching the Prince Albert Raiders in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and WHL from 1972 through 1986, then again in 1988-89.
In 1992, Terry, along with his brother Wayne, were granted a WHL expansion team and brought the Rebels to Red Deer. The Simpson’s played a pivotal role in introducing the WHL and major junior hockey to central Alberta, before turning ownership over to Brent Sutter in 1999.
Simpson went on to head coach 338 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers, while also serving as an Assistant Coach with the Flyers, Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also led Team Canada to a World Junior Championship Gold Medal in 1986 as Head Coach of Canada’s National Junior Team. Simpson is now retired and resides in Saskatoon.
“Terry Simpson not only developed a Memorial Cup Champion and outstanding hockey program with the Prince Albert Raiders, but also played a significant leadership role both in management and ownership capacities while involved in the Western Hockey League,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.
The WHL and its Member Clubs will honour Simpson at the annual WHL Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, May 4th in Calgary, AB.
The WHL Governors Award, first awarded by the WHL in 2004 – 05, is the highest honour bestowed on an individual by the WHL Board of Governors. Previous recipients were: Ken Hodge (2009-10); Bob Brown (2008 – 09); Bill Hunter, Scotty Munro and Jim Piggott (2007 – 08); Bob Cornell (2006 – 07); Jack McLeod (2005 – 06); Pat Ginnell, Ernie McLean, Bill Hicke and Del Wilson (2004 – 05).