Windsor Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler, left, president John Savage and former GM Warren Rychel at the WFCU Centre, July 11, 2019. Photo courtesy Windsor Spitfires.

Changing of the guard at the Windsor Spitfires

There will be a new face in charge of the Windsor Spitfires.

The OHL team announced Thursday morning that general manager and part-owner Warren Rychel is stepping away. The Spitfires’ current vice-president of business and hockey operations, Bill Bowler, is getting a promotion and will become the new general manager as well as vice-president of hockey operations.

Rychel is also reportedly selling his minority ownership of the Spits and will pursue other opportunities in hockey, but team president and part-owner John Savage said Rychel will stick around.

“Warren has been a great team builder,” Savage said. “He will continue to be involved with the organization as a consultant, while his contributions to the franchise and accomplishments will remain an important part of the team’s history.”

The outgoing GM is a former NHL player, having guided the Spitfires through a series of ups-and-downs beginning in 2006, but he will be remembered most for overseeing teams that won the Memorial Cup in 2009, 2010, and 2017.

Bowler is a former Spitfire himself and was on the coaching staff from 2005 to 2007. He was later the head coach and general manager of the Chatham Maroons, then the LaSalle Vipers, another junior-B team.

“Bill is set to hit the ground running after working with Warren for the past few seasons,” said Savage. “We have every confidence in his ability to help keep the franchise moving in a positive direction.”