Wheatland Kings announce new general manager

The Wheatland Kings have announced Cody Holdaway as their new general manager, who is taking over the position from Lee Smith.

An update was released publicly stating the Kings and Smith mutually agreed to part ways and he has been relieved of all his duties. The statement thanked Smith for his years of service to the team.

“It has been very interesting. I am obviously excited to take on this new role, it is a big role for someone my age, but I am really excited to help develop this new era of Wheatland Kings hockey,” said Holdaway. “Working alongside with my team, we are developing a better player experience for our players, and also a better fan experience for our fans that support us at every home game.”

Holdaway, 20, is assuming his new role after coming in to help the Kings initially to run their social media two seasons ago. Then in the offseason, he explained he started to take on a larger role in helping manage their equipment.

At the beginning of last season, Holdaway was promoted to associate general manager to assist Smith with the primary objectives of the team.

Outside of the official statement, the Kings and Holdaway declined to comment further on Smith’s departure from the team.

Holdaway is stepping into his role as the Kings prepare to launch their spring training camp, looking to round out their roster for the upcoming season.

“We always want to better ourselves and bring in better talents within the organization, so we are running our spring camp June 1-2 out in Chestermere,” said Holdaway. “We are really excited for that, and really for the short term here, we are actually running an auction right now, auctioning off our 15th anniversary jerseys … hopefully that will help raise some funds to help us get down the road next season.”

Regarding the betterment of the fan experience, Holdaway is looking to dust off the old mascot costume to bring back to games, as well as to potentially work with sponsors to host activities during intermissions.

He added his role will effectively be a middle ground, working on business development for the Kings, as well as being on the ground with head coach Doug Raycroft.

“We are really going to try to make playoffs next year. We are a playoff team and we were one point shy of playoffs this year,” said Holdaway. “We are going to go back and we are going to hit them hard next year.”

Holdaway is the youngest person to hold a position of general manager in Heritage Junior Hockey League history. Previously, that accomplishment was held by Jacqueline Hurlbert when she was 22, working in Cochrane.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times