Vancouver Islander making NHL assistant coaching debut

Brett McLean of the Comox Valley opens coming NHL season behind the bench of the Minnesota Wild

Brett McLean behind the bench.

After three seasons of coaching in a minor developmental league, Brett McLean is stepping up to the highest rung of professional hockey.

On Jan. 14, the 42-year-old Comox Valley native will be standing behind the bench of the Minnesota Wild.

The National Hockey League club, in August, named McLean an assistant coach. Along with former NHL player Darby Hendrickson, he has been tasked with coaching the forwards, and keeping an eye on neutral zone play.

“It’s been great, loving it,” McLean said Thursday from St. Paul, Minn. “We’re in day five of training camp. Lots to do in a short time, trying to get the team ready to play. It’s been a great camp so far.”

McLean will also be in charge of the power play, alongside head coach Dean Evason, who starred for the Hartford Whalers in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“I’m very thankful to be on his staff,” McLean said. “It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Minnesota Wild organization.”

The departure of veteran centres Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu gives younger forwards such as Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek a chance to fill bigger roles.

The coaching staff is also excited about Russian winger Kirill Kaprizov joining the team.

“He looks outstanding,” McLean said. “He’s been considered one of the best players, if not the best player, outside the NHL the last few years.”

Defender Jered Spurgeon is the new team captain, and goalie Cam Talbot has been added to the lineup.

“So many games in such a short period of time. There’s going to be unexpected twists and turns throughout the season, so we have to be flexible and ready for any situation on a daily basis.”

McLean spent the last three seasons as an assistant with the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL).

During a playing career that spanned nearly 20 years, the Comox-born centre skated with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. He also played with professional club teams in Switzerland and Austria.

He has represented Canada on many occasions, including the 1998 World Junior Championships. He played with Team Canada in six Spengler Cups, winning the tournament on one occasion.

“I’m very, very lucky for a bunch of reasons, my family first and foremost,” McLean said. “I’m very proud of my career. I really had to earn it, every step along the way.”

As he translates to coaching, he finds it beneficial to have played in a variety of places, and to have experienced different cultures, coaching styles and playing styes.

“That versatility really helps me to relate to all different type of player from all different backgrounds…A coach’s job is pretty simple. You’re just trying to help and support these young men to live out their dreams.”

McLean’s wife Brenna, daughter Darian, 13, and sons Nixon, 9, and Nash, 5, still live in Iowa. They will move to St. Paul at the end of the school term in Iowa.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Brett McLean is pictured with teammates at a Spengler Cup tournament.

Brett McLean and family: his wife Brenna is holding five-year-old Nash. At left is Nixon, 9. At right is daughter Darian, 13.

Brett McLean is on the ice with his son Nixon before playing a game with the Linz Blackwings in Austria.

Just Posted

Sidney town crier Kenny Podmore delivers a proclamation honouring the late Prince Philip outside of city hall on April 17, the day of the Duke’s funeral. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Sidney)
Sidney, North Saanich honour the late Prince Philip with proclamation on Saturday

Sidney’s town crier delivered a proclamation for the Duke of Edinburgh outside of city hall

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 exposure at Ecole Victor-Brodeur in Esquimalt on April 12, 13 and 14. (Screenshot via Google Streetview)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at K-12 French school in Esquimalt, Island Health reports

People at Ecole Victor-Brodeur may have been exposed April 12-14

The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre is asking for donation support as it prepares for its busiest season of the year. (Photo courtesy of BC SPCA)
Wild ARC looking for donations to care for yearly influx of vulnerable animals

Spring and summer are the southern Vancouver Island centre’s busiest time of the year

North Saanich Fire Department is looking for individuals interested in becoming volunteer firefighters who want to give back to the community and learn new skills while gaining personal confidence. (Submitted/District of North Saanich)
North Saanich actively recruiting volunteer firefighters

Department is searching for new recruits from now until the end of May

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
East Sooke carpenter builds the ultimate tree fort

East Sooke Treehouse takes flight as an Airbnb

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

Most Read