Coquitlam Express’ Justin Rai signed by NHL’s Seattle Kraken

Justin Rai was promoted to the major leagues after three seasons with the local junior “A” club.

A hockey coach from Coquitlam is heading to the NHL.

Justin Rai has been hired by the Seattle Kraken as a new player development consultant less than two months before the 2022-23 season, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 7.

The 28-year-old from Surrey has spent the past three seasons with the Coquitlam Express.

He was first hired as a skills coach in 2019 before being promoted from the bench to associate head coach in January for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.

Last season ended with a seven-game playoff outing against the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Rai joins the Seattle staff under director of player development Jeff Tambellini – a Port Moody product who has played 242 NHL games and more than 100 in European professional leagues.

Rai owns and operates the development agency, Kaivo Hockey.

According SBNationhis company has worked with NHL players and prospects, including Adam Gaudette, Nic Petan and three-season Coquitlam Express alum Alexander Kerfoot.

Before joining the coaching ranks, Rai’s junior playing career took him to Richmond and Prince George.

He spent a season at the University of Maine for the NCAA Div. I played hockey before returning home in 2016 to adapt to the UBC Thunderbirds.

After training camp, the Coquitlam Express is expected to begin its 2022-23 season with three home games at the Poirier Sports and Recreation Complex:

  • Sept. 23, 7 p.m. vs. Prince George Spruce Kings
  • September 30, 7 p.m. c. Merritt Centennials
  • Oct. 2, 3 p.m. vs. Surrey Eagles

The team’s first of three pre-season home games will take place on September 3, also against Surrey.

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