The Kitchener Rangers have turned in-house to fill their general manager and head coaching vacancies.
Head scout Murray Hiebert has been promoted to GM, former assistant GM/coach Troy Smith will take over head coaching duties and ex-NHL defenceman Mike Van Ryn will be the club's new associate coach.
All three have been inked to two-year deals.
"We never said we were going to hire internally," said Rangers' chief operating officer Steve Bienkowski. "But we didn't want to exclude those candidates either."
Hiebert joined the Rangers 12 years ago and also scouted for the Plymouth Whalers under ex-Kitchener GMs Steve Spott and Peter DeBoer.
Smith too has learned under the past two bench bosses as an assistant coach for the past seven years at the Aud.
Both filled the criteria that management was looking for - experience in junior hockey and an understanding of the culture the club strives to maintain on and off the ice.
Van Ryn is an eight-year NHL veteran who had stops in St. Louis, Florida and Toronto. The 32-year-old has been an assistant coach with the AHL's Houston Aeros for the past two years and also served a year as an assistant in the OHL under Marty Williamson in Niagara.
The London native played one year in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting after leaving the University of Michigan in his overage year. Van Ryn was Chris Pronger's defence partner in St. Louis and will run the team's blue line. That means assistant coach Mike McKenzie will take on the forward crew.
Hiebert is a guy who understands the OHL draft well. He knows the value of picks and works well with families of recruits and current players.
"If you like a player like Justin Bailey you can thank Murray," Bienkowski said.
Aside from helping run the Rangers' bench, Smith has also coach Team Ontario's Under-17 squad twice. Simply put, he is ready to take a step up.
In addition, the team is expected to announce one or more player signings in the coming days. Sounds like a recent trip to visit U.S. recruits has paid dividends.
The team isn't replacing Hiebert's director of scouting job but two current scouts will have their roles expanded to help fill the void. Though, as GM, Hiebert will certainly still have his hand heavily involved in the recruiting and scouting process.