SOLDOTNA, AK – The Kenai River Brown Bears, proud members of the North American Hockey League, announced that they have filled staff positions for the 2017-18 season. Last month the Bears hired new head coach Josh Petrich, a former assistant coach with the Minnesota Wilderness. During his tenure with the Wilderness, Petrich helped to place over thirty players into NCAA Division I programs and won a national title in 2014. Petrich said “We will be out working hard this summer to bring as much excitement and fun to the Kenai Peninsula this year as we possibly can!” This week the Brown Bears, a program of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation, are excited to announce that Nick Sova, of Cottage Grove MN, will join the Bears as assistant coach. Sova is a recent graduate of Hamline University, where he played forward for the Pipers. He also played junior hockey for Minot (NAHL) and in Canada. “I am honored to join an organization where the community is so involved and cares about everyone in the organization. “I could not be more excited than to coach in a great league like the NAHL. It is a great opportunity!”
Also on the bench again this season will be former Brown Bear, and local standout, Jed McGlasson. A graduate and captain of St. Mary’s University, McGlasson will continue to serve as Director of Business Operations, and brings a wealth of local knowledge and pride to the program.
Chris Hedlund, who served as a regional scout last season, has been named Director of Hockey Operations. A native of Anoka, MN, Hedlund has coached AAA youth hockey and served as a scout for NA3HL power house Granite City Lumber Jacks. His experience with Versatex Building Products as Regional Sales manager for Western US and Canada adds valuable business experience to our hockey operations.
New to the Brown Bears staff is Director of Marketing & Community Liaison Steve Stuber. Steve helped lead the “Save the Bears” effort last spring, which culminated in re-activation of the NAHL membership. Steve will be active throughout the community in promoting events and game day efforts. With Stuber’s help, the Bears will carry the momentum forward into the upcoming season.
Billet Coordinator April Weber will undertake one of the most critical components of the organization, taking over for longtime Bears staff member Gwen Johnson, who helped build the billet program into one of the best in junior hockey. April has served in this role in the past, and is excited to once again join the staff. April will work in securing family accommodations for over two dozen young men for the season.
The Bears are very fortunate to have longtime local coach, and youth advocate, Vince Redford “officially” join the team. Redford has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for years with the Bears and in the hockey community. He will now lend his talents on Alaska Player Development. “With Vince’s dedication, the Bears will once again become Alaska’s team, helping to identify and develop top talent within the state”, according the GM Nate Kiel. Redford is has also been instrumental in creating the newly formed Brown Bear Booster Club.
Finally, Lisa Zulkanycz, longtime volunteer in many facets of the team, has accepted a position as Administrative Manager. She will work closely with staff members to keep the organization running smoothly. “Lisa has been invaluable to the organization. Her knowledge of the program and community is essential as we transition with a new staff,” Kiel said. The KPYF has worked diligently over the past two months building a great team to take the Brown Bears into the next decade of junior hockey on the peninsula. This is just the beginning. Many fans and supporters have already stepped up to volunteer their time at games or events in the upcoming season. If you would like to assist please call 907-262- 7825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.