EVERETT – Bil La Forge received quite the present for his 43rd birthday.
On Tuesday the Everett Silvertips announced that La Forge had been given a two-year contract extension to remain as the organization’s director of player personnel.
“It just means I get to continue in the quest to win the Memorial Cup with people I enjoy working with,” La Forge said. “I love the organization so much. It’s been so good to me and my family that I really couldn’t imagine working for another team in the Western (Hockey) League.”
🗞 Director of Player Personnel Bil La Forge re-signed to multi year contract extension
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) May 9, 2017
Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of last Thursday’s bantam draft when the Silvertips made 13 selections in the annual event that dispersed the rights of 2002-born players from Western Canada and the Western United States.
“We work together day-in and day-out together over the course of the whole year, but certainly the last three weeks has been a little more shoulder-to-shoulder and pushing that to get through the draft,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said. “I think he’s a real professional who works very hard. He’s very conscientious. I think he has a real good handle on what we’re looking for in players. I think he has a good eye for that and I also think he has a good sense of projecting players, because that’s also very important in the process.”
La Forge currently manages the Silvertips scouting staff and works in coordination with Davidson on the Silvertips 50-player protected list, covering the Western Canada and United States region with comprehensive monitoring of developing players.
A member of the Tips scouting staff since 2008, La Forge is entering his 10th season with the organization in 2017-18. He was named head scout in 2011 and promoted to director of player personnel in 2014. Since then a total of 12 drafted or listed players (1999-born or younger) earned playing experience on the 2016-17 Silvertips club that captured their fifth U.S. Division title.
Every player selected by the Silvertips in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft participated in last season’s training camp, and four members of that draft class have signed WHL standard player agreements with the Silvertips. Those players are forwards Ethan Browne, Mark Liwiski and Conrad Mitchell, and goalie Dustin Wolf.
“He does a very good job of overseeing and coordinating all our scouts throughout the entire Western Hockey League territory, which is substantial and large,” Davidson said. “I think he’s a real team guy. He’s very open to listening to other people and trying to do things a better way each and every year after we’re finished.”
La Forge also serves as director of Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in his native Edmonton and has an extensive coaching resume in minor hockey, winning multiple championships at the bantam level. He has 17 seasons in personnel or scouting roles in the WHL or American Hockey League, additionally serving the Tri-City Americans, Lethbridge Hurricanes, and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. He also taught 12 years at the junior high level.
In his playing days, La Forge skated in the Ontario Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League before competing collegiately at Augustana University College.
He is a graduate of both Augustana and the University of Alberta. His father, Bill, served as head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, both the Regina Pats and Kamloops Junior Oilers of the WHL and multiple other teams over a successful coaching career spanning from 1980 until the mid-1990s.
“Connections in hockey are critical,” La Forge said. “I’ve been fortunate with my dad and in my journey as a player to meet a ton of great people. You always have that person to fall back on whether it was someone who played for my dad or someone I played with or someone my dad introduced me to when I was a kid.”
La Forge is married to Nella and they have two daughters.
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