by John Payatta
THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Lakehead University Athletics and Head Coach Andrew Wilkins are pleased to announce the assistant coaching staff for the upcoming hockey season.
Andrew Fernandez will be Wilkins’ top assistant and will travel with the team for road games. He will also remain the Wolves’ strength and conditioning coach, a position he held last year.
Fernandez, a native of Thunder Bay, played defence at Northern Michigan University from 2007 to 2011 and graduated with a degree in Health and Fitness Management. He is presently the owner of the Peak Performance Strength and Conditioning located in the south core of the city.
Jason Firth returns in the same role he held last season under previous Head Coach Bill McDonald. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native was a tenth-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 1991 after four prolific years in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers and North Bay Centennials.
Firth played three seasons in the American Hockey League before coming to Thunder Bay to play for the Senators and Thunder Cats of the Colonial and United Hockey Leagues from 1994 to 1999 and continued to play professional hockey in the minor pro leagues until 2005. During that time he was named rookie of the year, twice selected as the league’s most valuable player and was the WPHL scoring champion in 2001.
Former Lakehead forward Murray Magill is the final piece to Wilkins’ staff. The local product suited up for the Thunderwolves from 2002 to 2006 and won the OUA Queen’s Cup championship in his final season, in addition to being named a CIS Academic All-Canadian.
Magill graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and is a teacher at Edgewater elementary school. He has been a long-time instructor at the Thunderwolves hockey camps and is ranked 14th on the list of all-time leading scorers in Thunderwolves’ hockey history.
Wilkins likes the group he has assembled. “I’m very pleased to have Andrew Fernandez, Jason Firth and Murray Magill on our coaching staff,” he said. “Each of them has different experiences and talents that they bring to the team and I think we’ll work well together.”