The most productive coach in franchise history is returning to the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for a sixth season, Hockey News North has confirmed.
Kyle Brick, who will turn 35 years of age later this month, has re-upped with the Beavers as coach and general manager for the 2021-2022 season as per team president Robert Morningstar.
Morningstar had much good to say about Brick and the job that he has done at the helm of the Beavers.
“At the beginning of his first contract (in 2016) the Beavers were looking for a local coach with experience, drive and dedication to develop a top-level team.
“The Board of Directors are extremely satisfied and pleased with Kyle’s performance and will continue to work together to develop that championship team that we are striving for … and we remain confident that we will get there.
“Having said that, moving forward we have to remember and keep in mind that hockey is for the players and it is our job to develop them so that they can get to that next level,” Morningstar told Hockey News North.
Morningstar also reflected on the abbreviated 2020-2021 NOJHL season that was affected by COVID-19 and Ontario government and public health unit shutdowns.
“With support and guidance of the NOJHL and its return to play policy we were able to provide the sport of hockey to the north. I strongly believe that during these difficult times we have stuck together to bring hockey to our Blind River community.
“Hockey is part of our culture and will always be,” added Morningstar, noting that he feels positive about a more normal return of hockey for the 2021-2022 season.
As for Brick, who hails from the nearby, north shore town of Thessalon — which is about 35 miles west of Blind River and 50 miles east of Sault Ste. Marie — he told Hockey News North that he is “happy to be returning to the Beavers.
“We have a good group of players coming back who we want to continue to develop,” he began, adding that, “my time here in Blind River has been great … we have been able to turn around a program and become a contender year after year, not only in the division but in the league as well.
“The best part is I get to do it with my best friends as assistant coaches, Craig MacDonald and Dylan King. And we’ve also been able to add great people in (assistant coach) Jamie Disano, (trainer) Derrick Bates and (equipment manager) Spencer Lawrence,” pointed out Brick.
“We are still chasing that elusive league championship but I feel we are getting closer and closer. The board of directors and community of Blind River have been nothing but supportive and I can’t be more thankful. This team gave me a shot and I intend to win here, that’s the goal. I can’t wait to get started next season,” Brick relayed.
Prior to the 2020-2021 campaign in which the Beavers posted a 9-11-1 record in 21 games — seventeen of which were against the Soo Thunderbirds — Blind River had nothing but winning seasons since Brick arrived in Blind River in 2016, posting successive records of 32-20-4, 33-19-4, 25-24-7 and a franchise-best 37-15-4 in 2019-2020.
By comparison, in the four seasons before Brick and Co. came on board in Blind River, the Beavers won only 33 of 212 games.
To be sure, there is a Brick foundation when it comes to the NOJHL in Blind River.