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Sports >  Spokane Chiefs

Spokane Chiefs fire coach Adam Maglio; Ryan Smith to lead team in interim

Feb. 10, 2022 Updated Thu., Feb. 10, 2022 at 9 p.m.

Spokane Chiefs head coach Adam Maglio, facing, chats with former coach Manny Viveiros during a game last January at the Arena. The Chiefs announced Maglio was relieved of his duties on Thursday.  (Courtesy of Larry Brunt/Spokane Chiefs)
Spokane Chiefs head coach Adam Maglio, facing, chats with former coach Manny Viveiros during a game last January at the Arena. The Chiefs announced Maglio was relieved of his duties on Thursday. (Courtesy of Larry Brunt/Spokane Chiefs)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

Already in the process of replacing their general manager, the Spokane Chiefs fired head coach Adam Maglio on Thursday.

The announcement came one day after the Western Hockey League team absorbed a 9-0 loss at Portland and 42 games into the season for the Chiefs, who sit in last place in the 10-team Western Conference with a 12-26-3-1 record. Maglio was in his second season as the team’s head coach.

Ryan Smith, the team’s associate coach, will be the team’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Assistant coach Dustin Donaghy will move into a full-time role.

“We just felt that we needed a different voice in the locker room and behind the bench,” Chiefs President Mark Miles said. “Change was needed for the rest of the season to see if the players can respond to a different voice.”

The decision to fire Maglio was made by team ownership and management, Miles said, and that the team’s 9-0 loss to the Winterhawks on Wednesday was just one factor.

On Jan. 27, the Chiefs announced that Scott Carter, the current general manager, would not return next season for health and family reasons but that Carter would assist with the search for his replacement.

Miles said the team is “getting close” to finishing that hiring process.

Smith, who joined the Chiefs in September 2020, previously coached five seasons in the WHL, including two as an assistant with Medicine Hat and three with Swift Current. He was there in 2018 when the Broncos won the 2018 WHL championship.

This will be his first opportunity to be a head coach.

“It is an opportunity for Ryan (Smith) to be a head coach in the Western Hockey League and to see what he can do,” Miles said.

While Miles said there is never a good time to make a move like this, it was best made now in order “to give Ryan the best opportunity to see what he can do, to see what our change for the players can do (and) to give them another two months in the season.”

Earlier this season, the Chiefs traded away a handful of their oldest players in exchange for younger players and draft picks, with an eye toward being more competitive in the next few seasons.

Berkly Catton, the first-overall pick in the 2021 WHL prospects draft, will make his Chiefs debut on Friday at home when Spokane hosts Portland for the first of back-to-back games this weekend at the Arena. Catton is eligible to play up to five games for the Chiefs this season.

Maglio first came to Spokane as a Chiefs assistant for the 2019-20 season, when the team went 41-18-4-1 before the season ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following September, Maglio replaced Manny Viveiros, who left to become the head coach of the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the WHL didn’t begin its 2020-21 season until March . The Chiefs only played 21 games and finished 6-10-4-1. They played without three of their top scorers, including Luke Toporowski and Bear Hughes – who, along with goalie Lukas Parik, were loaned to teams in the United States Hockey League – as well as Jack Finley, who missed the season due to an injury.

Toporowski and Finley – a Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick – were traded earlier this season. Hughes, a native of Post Falls and a Washington Capitals prospect, was named team captain on Jan. 20 and is tied for the team lead with 39 points.

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