First, the bad news. Former Bison coach and renowned NHL assistant coach Wayne Fleming passed away after a long battle with cancer. I once heard former Bison Stu "The Grim Reaper" Grimson describe Fleming as the best teacher of the game he had.

After his graduation and his playing days were over, Fleming continued to be on the University of Manitoba campus as he was the assistant coach of the Bison men’s hockey team for the next three years (1976-77 to 1979-80) and then moved from assistant to head coach in 1980-81 and was at the helm of the Bisons for nine seasons (1980-81 to 1986-87 and 1988-89 and ’89-90). During those productive years, Fleming guided the Bisons to back-to-back GPAC (defunct now Great Plains Athletic Conference) Championships from 1983-84 (regular season record: 19-4-1) and 1984-85 (17-3-4) plus named GPAC Coach of the Year in 1982-83 and 1984-85 and also selected as Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (now CIS) Coach of the Year in 1984-85.

In addition, Fleming coached future NHL stars Mike Ridley and Stu Grimson plus Canadian Olympian Vaughn Karpan during his days with Manitoba. Fleming also coached Sirant during his four year playing career from 1981-82 to 1984-85 and helped Sirant into the coaching ranks as he was named an assistant coach in Fleming’s last season during 1989-90 year (Sirant would then later became the Bison men’s hockey head coach in the 1992-93 season).

After Manitoba, Fleming had a very successful coaching career both internationally and at the National Hockey League (NHL) level. He was part of the Canadian National Team from 1990-92 in the role of assistant coach and general manager as they proceeded to win a silver medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Then from 1992 until 1996, he was the head coach of Leksands IF of the Swedish Elitserien. Fleming was coach of the Landshut Cannibals in Germany for one year before returning to North America to become an assistant coach with the New York Islanders in 1997-98 for two seasons. He was also an assistant coach in the NHL for the Phoenix Coyotes (1999-00, ‘00-01), the Philadelphia Flyers (2002-03 to 2005-06), the Calgary Flames (2006-07, ‘08-09) and finished with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2010-11 and 2011-12). Fleming continue his success internationally as he went back to the Canadian national program in 2000 and was named the Vice President, Hockey by Hockey Canada and served as an associate coach for the national team when it captured a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Now, the good news. Former Bison captain Mike Hellyer was named Central Hockey League rookie of the year. He played for the Quad City Mallards.

Hellyer, 26, leads CHL rookies in points (60) and assists (37), is tied for second among first year players in plus/minus rating (+13) and ranks third among rookies in goals (23). The Brandon, Manitoba, native is the Mallards’ second-leading point scorer. Hellyer on Monday was selected to the CHL All-Rookie Team.

|> [Fleming Press Release]
|> [Hellyer Press Release]