SASKATOON, SK — The Saskatoon Blades coaching staff is getting a big boost between the pipes.
Former WHL netminder and SVHL champion Jeff Harvey has been hired as the team’s goaltending coach, forging a new path for goaltenders in the Blades organization.
“First and foremost I must thank the Priestner family for the opportunity to allow me to get back into the league that provided me playing top-level hockey while earning a post-secondary education,” said Harvey.
“We welcome the addition of Jeff to the Saskatoon Blades Hockey Club,” said Blades head coach Mitch Love, who’s a former teammate to Harvey. “He’s alumni of the Western Hockey League and takes a lot of pride in that. Since his retirement from hockey, he’s been active in the community with the development of young goalies along with staying very current on the finer nuances of the goaltending position needed in today’s game.”
Harvey, a product of St. Albert, AB, brings a wealth of playing experience at the junior hockey league level, splitting time between the Kootenay ICE, Swift Current Broncos, and Everett Silvertips from 2000 to 2004.
The 37-year-old was the backbone to the Silvertips playoff run in its inaugural year (2003-04) which also included Love on the roster. Harvey’s 1.99 GAA and .925 SAV% was among tops in the WHL, chalking up a 24-14-2-0 record. The ‘Tips set numerous league records that year, and became the first team to reach the WHL Championship series in its inaugural season.
Harvey and Love were also teammates with the Swift Current Broncos previous to Everett, and teamed up a third time as professionals in 2010-11 with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs of the Central Hockey League.
On top of his lengthy career playing the game, Harvey has also been an instructor for the last 16 years, specializing in the development of young goaltenders across Western Canada. He spent 10 years studying under GDI founder and Vancouver Canucks goaltender coach Ian Clark, and joined Goal Tec’s coaching crew in Saskatoon in early 2019.
“I am thrilled to be a part of a young coaching staff who all are trying to get better at their crafts,” continued Harvey. “The atmosphere around the team is one of learning which is beneficial as we are all still learning in this great game.”
Harvey will be working closely with current Blades goaltenders Nolan Maier and Koen MacInnes, who combined for a 0.898 SV% and 3.04 GAA last season. The two helped the Blades to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Division with a 34-24-2-3 record, earning the second and final wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Jeff is an eager individual who works extremely hard and is striving to get better each and every day at his craft,” added Love. “We only see that as a benefit to the goaltenders on our roster and system. We look forward to his tutelage of the goaltending position within the Blades organization.”
Following 154 career games in the WHL, Harvey spent one season with the Rockford IceHogs of the United Hockey League before joining the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for five consecutive seasons. His success in junior quickly transferred to the U-Sports ranks, earning his first Adam Kryczka Memorial Trophy for helping the Huskies finish with the lowest goals-against average mark of any U-Sports West team. Harvey would win that same award twice more over five seasons with the Pups, becoming the team’s all-time wins record holder.
Harvey’s playing career wrapped up with the Rosetown Redwings of the Sask Valley Hockey League, where he helped capture two Senior AAA Provincial Championships, landing the Redwings in the Allen Cup twice. He retired from competitive play following the 2013-14 campaign.
The Blades would like to thank former goaltending coach Tim Cheveldae for his time and commitment to the organization and the community, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.