TISDALE — Tisdale’s Gavin Brandl is pleased to be moving up the coaching ranks close to home.
The U18 AAA Tisdale Trojans announced last week that Brandl is joining the staff as an assistant coach for the 2021-22 season. A former assistant coach for the Nipawin Hawks junior team, Brandl has recently been with the Northeast Wolfpack U15 AA program. He spent one season as the head coach and one as an assistant.
“I am really proud to call Tisdale home,” Brandl said. “I look forward to continuing to build relationships in northeast Saskatchewan and helping carry on the proud tradition of Tisdale Trojan hockey.”
Dennis Kubat returns for his third season behind the bench for the Trojans. Rob Pollon will also be back as an assistant coach. Assistant coach Daven Smith moves on after two seasons. Kubat said he is pleased to welcome Brandl aboard.
“Gavin brings experience of coaching at many different levels of hockey,” the Trojans bench boss said. “He will be a big asset to the team. He is a huge believer in development and allowing for creativity, things we value as part of our program. Gavin will be a big help on the offensive side of the game.”
Brandl said what most excites him about joining the Tisdale team is the “shared vision amongst staff for the type of program we want to have. I'm a big believer in everything that Coach Dennis and Coach Rob have built so far and believe I can contribute a lot towards accomplishing our goals.”
He is pleased to be coaching at the U18 AAA level and in the always competitive Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League. Between 2014 and 2019 (the last time the Telus Cup U18 AAA tournament was held) a team from the league won the national championship twice and finished third twice. The last of those was the Trojans winning the bronze medals in 2019 in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Brandl coached at the U18 AAA level in Fort St. John, B.C.
“I am looking forward to being able to work with driven and competitive young athletes to help them achieve their goals and dreams,” Brandl said. “U18 AAA has always been one of my favourite levels of hockey both as a fan and as coach and the SMAAAHL is historically one of the best circuits at that level in the world so it should be a lot of fun to be a part of.”
During his time with the Wolfpack, four players were chosen in the Western Hockey League draft and nine have at least verbally committed to play at the SMAAAHL level next season. Brandl said “it looks like somewhere in the range of three to five Wolfpack players from the past two years will be on the Trojans roster for the 2021-22 season with hopefully more to come in the future.” He enjoyed his two seasons with the U15 team.
“My favourite parts about coaching at that level is seeing how much growth and development they go through in such a short period of time at that age,” Brandl said. “You realize pretty quickly at the U15 level they are still just kids. They are all in the middle of the process of figuring out who they want to be as people while also carrying some big dreams and to get the opportunity to help guide them through that is pretty special.”
From Delburne, Alta., Brandl played Junior B hockey for the Stettler Lightning. He started his coaching career as an assistant for that squad – “where I feel in love with that part of the game,” he said – before becoming the team’s head coach. Brandl scouted for the Junior A Whitecourt Wolverines and was part of that team’s run to the Alberta Junior Hockey League finals. He came east to be an assistant coach for the Nipawin Hawks for the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.
“I think all that experience in junior hockey will definitely help with being able to help develop our players who are all looking to take the correct steps to get to that level,” Brandl said. “Through those experiences I have also been very fortunate to learn from some incredibly successful and experienced coaches and I definitely credit them with a lot of what I think I will be able to bring to the table to help our team be as competitive as possible.”
In addition to coaching teams, Brandl has also helped at the Clutch hockey camps in the area. In addition, he offers on and off ice development for northeastern Saskatchewan hockey players through his company Spot On Athlete Development. In the winter, the focus is on-ice skill development with groups in Nipawin and Tisdale. In the offseason, he offers a strength and conditioning program complete with education on recovery, nutrition, and character development.
“The goal is to help players be as prepared as possible for not only their upcoming seasons but also their long-term health and wellness,” Brandl said.