Posted on April 17, 2013 at 7:18 PM
Wednesday, Apr 17 at 7:19 PM
Spokane Chief Assistant Coach Jon Klemm will step down from his position citing the desire be closer to his family. Klemm, who recently finished his fourth season on the bench as the Chiefs' assistant, will return to Dallas after getting married this summer. His four teenage children live in Chicago.
"I will get more opportunities to see my kids and see my son play hockey. I haven't seen him play in three years. This move gives me flexibility in the winter months," Klemm said.
In 2009, Klemm returned to the franchise that he captained to their first Memorial Cup Championship in 1991. Spokane went 175-91-14-8 in the four seasons with Klemm as an assistant. The former defenseman was named to the franchise's Top 25 Chiefs in 25 Years during Spokane's 25th anniversary season in 2009-10.
"It has been a pleasure to work with Jon, both as a player and now as a coach. He has been fantastic for our organization," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.
"We understand and respect his decision to move and be more available for his family," Speltz added.
"I'm sad to see Jon go," Chiefs Head Coach Don Nachbaur said.
"I want to personally thank him for all the hard work with our team. He made individuals better people and players and I'm going to miss him for that. He helped develop our kids on a daily basis," Nachbaur said.
After his junior career ended as a 20-year-old in '91, Klemm played 18 seasons of professional hockey totaling 773 games in the National Hockey League with Colorado, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. The Cranbrook, BC native won Stanley Cups with Colorado in 1996 and 2001.
"This was a great experience. When you're a player, and play as long as I did, to make the transition to coaching is an eye opener. As a player, you're at the rink a few hours a day and you don’t realize the work that goes into it. I enjoyed my time here and learned a lot."
"It was a lot of fun to be a part of and see these kids grow, improve and get better. To be around the players and see them get to the next level was great."
Three Chiefs, defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Jared Cowen and center Tyler Johnson, are players who Klemm coached and have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.
"Personally, the playoff run a couple of years ago was a big moment. We got the best out of that group," Klemm recalled. Spokane won 48 games and finished second in the Conference standings before advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2011.
"We just couldn’t get over one little hill. That situation is what makes the game so great, the fine line between winning and losing. I thought we were successful; just fell a little bit short in the end."
The search for a replacement will begin immediately.