While it's not finalized, it appears Jarrod Skalde will be returning as coach of the Guelph Storm next season.
Skalde has been offered the job and he says he wants to come back. Contract talks are ongoing.
"Nothing has been finalized at this point but there's been some serious discussion between myself, ownership and Jarrod," Storm general manager Mike Kelly said Monday as the Storm players cleaned out their lockers and the coaching staff conducted exit interviews with all the players.
"I can clearly tell you that I'm very satisfied with Jarrod and its been my hope and my intent for a month and a half now that Jarrod would be back here for a couple of years. I suspect we'll work towards that end."
Kelly said distinctly that Skalde is the team's number one choice to coach and that they are not currently looking at anyone else.
"It's exciting. I'm excited to be back with Guelph," Skalde said.
"We're going to continue discussions. I love everything about coming here. Everyone has been great, from the ownership to the players to Mike. It's just a matter of a little bit more discussion," Skalde said.
Skalde took over the Storm after the Christmas break when Bill Stewart stepped down, guiding them to a 10-23-1-2 record over the second half of the season.
"It wasn't a case of I wanted to see what junior hockey is about and see if I like it or not, I loved every moment of it. It's very rewarding," Skalde said of his first taste of coaching at this level after several years in the minor professional ranks.
"It was challenging some nights," Skalde admitted.
"At the end of the day you walk in the rink and it's hockey. I want to coach. The Ontario Hockey League was a league I always wanted to be involved with and the purpose of moving to Toronto with my family was to be in this environment and it worked out."
Kelly said he was very impressed with how Skalde handled the tough season and in his ability to "step back and see the big picture."
"I thought Jarrod continued to teach day-after-day, week-after-week and make our players better, but also manage the kids and manage their psyches so it wasn't as painful for the players.
Next order of business for the Storm is April 8 when the OHL and Storm announce who Guelph is choosing first overall in this year's Priority Selection Draft. The rest of the draft takes place the next day.