The Selkirk College Saints men’s hockey team have once again promoted an assistant coach to lead the team to continued success in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).
The defending BCIHL champion Saints announced this week that Brent Heaven is stepping up as head coach for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Heaven replaces Alex Evin, who moved to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) last month.
Brent Heaven is the new head coach for the Selkirk College Saints men’s hockey team. With a decade of junior hockey coaching experience under his belt, Heaven steps into the role after helping guide the Saints to a third straight BCIHL title as an assistant coach in 2014-2015.
“Coaching is something that I love to do and I have a passion for it,” says the 35-year-old Heaven. “The opportunity I have here with the Saints works really well with what’s going on in my life and I’m looking forward to it.”
With a decade of coaching at the junior hockey level on his resume, Selkirk College Athletics & Recreation Coordinator Kim Verigin says Heaven was the preferred choice.
“Brent has extensive experience as a head coach,” says Verigin. “We’re excited to give him the opportunity to contribute to the continued success of the program. He is very knowledgeable and his connections within the community will surely help the student athletes succeed on and off the ice.”
Experience and Background an Asset
Heaven hails from Kamloops and during his playing career earned numerous Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) awards with the Osoyoos Heat in 2000-2001 where he was decorated with league and playoff MVP awards. He also played in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with the Quesnel Millionaires.
Looking to give back to the game, Heaven moved to the West Kootenay in 2005 to take a position as assistant coach of the Castlegar Rebels. In 2007 he was promoted to head coach where he guided the team until 2010. He then went on to spend time with the Kootenay Ice (BCMML), Creston Valley Thunder Cats (KIJHL) and Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL).
“I love intense, high tempo play,” Heaven says of his coaching philosophy. “The boys can be creative offensively and defensively maintain a structure as a team to protect the house. I am all about skill, speed, intensity and an entertaining style of game.”
Expectations Continue to be High
Returning to coaching in 2014-2015 after taking a season off, Heaven’s first year with the Saints gave him the opportunity to be a part of a third straight BCIHL title. The new head coach says the winning atmosphere is something he plans to build upon.
“We have a group of guys who have played junior and they know systems, it’s just case of getting everybody on the same page and working together,” says Heaven. “We will determine what our identity is as a team this year and move forward from there.”
The Saints have a strong core of veterans returning for the upcoming season and a solid group of recruits arriving to fill gaps left by recent graduates. Work has already begun on building a team that will be able to capture four straight titles, but Heaven says there’s a line-up of teams looking to take down the powerhouse Saints.
“It’s a big task, so it will take a lot of hard work and buys buying in,” Heaven says of the upcoming season that gets underway in September. “The league is getting a lot stronger, we can’t expect to win 24 straight games and sweep the playoffs. It really depends on what kind of character we have here and what the guys are willing to do to win. If everybody buys in, there will be rewards and hopefully that reward will be another championship.”