By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — One of the most popular names in Everett Silvertips history will be sticking around a little longer.
Assistant coach Mitch Love, who achieved cult status during his playing days with Everett, signed a contract extension with the Tips, the team announced Thursday. The contract locks Love up through the 2016-17 season. The upcoming season will be Love’s fourth as an Everett assistant.
“Mitch has done a terrific job with our young athletes over the past three years and we’re very excited to reward him with a contract extension,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said in a press release. “He approaches being a coach the same way he approached being a player: He’s 100 percent into everything he does and works exceptionally hard to keep improving while helping our players do the same. He and (head coach) Kevin Constantine have a great relationship going back many years, which I’m sure will only help him continue to grow as a coach in the years to come.”
Love, a 30-year-old native of Quesnel, B.C., was a local hero during Everett’s first two seasons from 2003-05 because of his combative playing style. He marshaled the Tips defense during the first two seasons of Constantine’s first stint as Everett’s head coach, playing a key role in the team’s run to the WHL finals as an expansion team in 2004. He captained the team during the 2004-05 season. He finished his Everett career with 21 goals, 35 assists and 305 penalty minutes in 129 games.
After a six-year professional playing career, Love returned to Everett as an assistant in 2011 under then head coach Mark Ferner. Love was the only member of the coaching staff to survive when Ferner was fired in January of 2013, and he was retained when Constantine returned as head coach last offseason. He currently coaches Everett’s defense.
“I’m excited to be back on board with the Silvertips organization and staying in the community that my family and I consider home,” Love said in the press release. “Last year, we took drastic steps forward toward our ultimate goals of developing young hockey players and winning hockey games, which someday will hopefully translate into a WHL championship and a Memorial Cup.
“It’s been a pleasure working alongside Kevin Constantine in a coaching capacity, plus I look forward to coaching a strong group of returning defensemen as well.”
Love’s extension came shortly after the departure of fellow assistant coach Mark LeRose. LeRose departed in late May to become the general manager of the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers. LeRose’s position has yet to be filled.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.