John Paddock is stepping down as head coach of the Regina Pats. The team made the announcement on Thursday morning. Assistant coach and GM Dave Struch has been named the new head coach.

“We are really excited about this transition in our organization,” Pats President Todd Lumbard said in a written release. “Dave is an excellent coach and will do a great job in continuing what we have built over the last four seasons.”

Paddock will continue to serve as VP of hockey operations and general manager.

“This transition is something we have talked about for some time,” said Paddock. “Dave and I think the game the same way and as we move into a different stage as a team, this move makes a lot of sense.”

Struch joined the Western Hockey League as a coach in 2006 with the Saskatoon Blades, before moving to Regina in 2014. He played four years in the WHL with Saskatoon from 1988 to 1992, when he played in the Memorial Cup Championship. He also went on to play nine seasons in Europe.