They say good things come to those who wait, and for Darren Ritchie a 31 year career in the game of hockey has finally paid off with a promotion to the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Wheat Kings made a joint announcement this morning announcing the departure of the long time fixture within the organization and the promotion of his right hand man Doug Gasper to General Manager.
Ritchie joins the Leafs after spending the past 14 seasons with the Wheat Kings as an assistant coach, director of scouting and general manager. He also played four seasons with the club from 1991-1995.
“I’m really excited for this next step and I’m also really excited for Doug to take over as General Manager of the Wheat Kings,” says Ritchie. “It’s going to feel a little different for me because I’ve been involved with the Wheat Kings for such a long time and I hold the club so close to my heart. But we’re currently enjoying a strong season and fans can expect a solid team moving forward."
In the six months since Jared Jacobson purchased the hockey club, he has lost his Head Coach and his General Manager both to NHL opportunities, something that brings on bittersweet emotions.
“We are happy for Darren to be able to further his career with the Leafs,” said Jacobson. “Our focus is on developing players to advance to the next level, and as an organization we have to understand our staff want to reach their career goals through the Wheat Kings as well."
Ritchie joins the Maple Leafs in the role of Amateur Scout, and will be responsible for watching junior hockey in Western Canada.
The Wheat Kings are back on the ice in Regina on Saturday afternoon vs the Moose Jaw Warriors.
You can hear more from both Darren Ritchie and Doug Gasper during the Q Country broadcast of the game. The pre-game show begins at 4:30 with puck drop scheduled for 5:00 p.m.