Hometown product Brett Braybrook is thrilled to be joining the Virden Oil Capitals as an assistant coach.
“I am truly honoured and privileged to be behind the bench again this year. I really plan to be a sponge and take everything in from Tyson (Ramsey, head coach), Reid (Gow, assistant coach), and the players,” Braybrook said.
This will be Braybrook’s second stint as an assistant coach with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League team. He served in the role previously for a season. He also was a video coach for a total of three years and scouted for the team for a trio of campaigns. Braybrook is excited about this year’s team’s potential.
“It is cliché when coaches and players talk about how they are going to compete for a playoff spot or deep run in the playoffs and really like the group they have,”’ Braybrook said. “This year you can truly look up and down our lineup and say in full confidence we will not accept anything short of a championship. We have a tremendous group here and that is something I really look forward to is being with the staff and guys each and everyday as we vie for our franchise’s first championship.”
Hockey Operations Staff
Ramsey is in his second season as the Oil Capitals head coach and general manager. Gow returns for his second year as an assistant coach as does Derek LeBlanc, who will be with the club on a part-time basis. Goaltending coach Ryan Potter is back with the team. He has been with the club since 2015.
Marc Berry is the team’s assistant general manager. Danna Warrener is in her second season as the team’s athletic therapist. Patty Hole serves as the Oil Caps’ power skating instructor, while Brock Davies is the strength and conditioning coach. Many members of the team’s hockey operations staff grew up in the Virden area or now are residents.
“We really appreciate all the people who help make this organization what it is,” Ramsey said. “I think we all have a desire to develop a strong connection to this community and having people who have lived here for a long time certainly helps. I am very thankful for all the folks who have made a commitment to help this program succeed.”
Ramsey said he is pleased to have Gow back on the coaching staff.
“In Reid, we get a guy who has played the game at a high level and is good at teaching the game’s finer points,” the coach said. “He is a great teacher for our young defence corps and is also a great special teams coach. I very much enjoyed working with Reid last season, and I am glad he is back.”
Gow played on the blue line of the major junior Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League for four seasons. He captained the squad in his final campaign. Gow, a Killarney product, split the 2014-2015 season between the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and the University of Manitoba. The 2012 WHL Scholastic Player of the Year attended training camp with the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues.
Ramsey said that Braybrook will be a great addition to the staff.
“Brett joining our group is also very exciting as Brett has a vast knowledge of the league and the young players joining the league. He is a student of the game and a real community-minded person.”
LeBlanc grew up in Brandon and played in the WHL for the Wheat Kings and the Calgary Hitmen. He went on to play at the University of Lethbridge and had a five-career professional career. It included playing for the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose, winning the 2010 Central Hockey League title with the Rapid City Rush, and suiting up for the Belfast Giants overseas. Potter was a netminder in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Potter family has billeted players since the franchise moved from Winnipeg in 2012.
“Both Derek and Ryan bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences in the game and will be with us on a part-time basis,” Ramsey said. “Ryan will continue to help develop our goaltenders, and Derek will help on the ice at practices whenever he is available.”
Braybrook works at Corex Resources. He said the company has been very supportive of him doing something he loves. One aspect of coaching the Oil Capitals that Braybrook has already enjoyed is having his young sons – Jax and Avery – be around the team.
“The players have been welcoming to the boys and myself,” he said. “They are great role models and it’s lucky for my boys to be able to experience that and someday hopefully they have the opportunity to be a major influence on younger kids’ lives.”
Braybrook played U18 AAA for the Southwest Cougars for former Oil Caps head coach Troy Leslie. He went on to play at Dakota College at Bottineau. Braybrook coached the Virden Collegiate Institute hockey team for a couple seasons before serving as an assistant coach to Leslie with the Cougars for three years. He coached the Virden Oil Kings senior team for two seasons and plans on helping them out this coming season.
As well, Braybrook coaches both of his sons in minor hockey. He also helps Ramsey with the Breakfast Club, which provides food and hockey skills instruction for young people.
“Obviously giving back to youth and my community is a big part of what I am about,” Braybrook said. “I love giving back to our youth as they are our future.”