The countdown has finally reached its end – the record is his.
With the 2-1 win by his Camrose Kodiaks over the Cornwall Colts on Wednesday night at the 2008 RBC Cup, Kodiaks head coach Boris Rybalka surpassed Dwight McMillan as the all-time winningest coach at a Canadian national hockey championship.
“It is an honour,” Rybalka said after the win. “There are a lot of great coaches out there, and to be mentioned among them is something pretty special.”
The win was Rybalka’s 20th in his fifth trip to the National Junior A Championship, moving him one up on McMillan, who has 19 wins in six appearances with the Weyburn Red Wings.
McMillan, who earlier this season became the first Junior A coach to reach 1,000 career wins and sits second behind Brian Kilrea among coaches at all junior levels, recorded his 19th win in the championship game of the 2005 Royal Bank Cup, beating Rybalka’s Kodiaks.
“Dwight is an amazing man who loves Junior hockey,” Rybalka said. “He has given his heart and soul to the game, and it is a privilege and an honour to be associated with him.”
The two have worked together at the past two World Junior A Challenges, helping Canada West to a pair of gold medals, and will reunite once again in November in their quest for a third gold, this time on Rybalka’s home ice in Camrose.
Despite having the record all to himself now, Rybalka is concerned with only one thing.
“I’d trade in all of the wins for a big one on Saturday (in the semi-final) and the ultimate one on Sunday (in the championship game).”