Brown Bears Announce Promotion

The Kenai River Brown Bears, proud members of the North American Hockey League, announced that they have named Chris Hedlund to Associate General Manager.

Hedlund started with the organization as a Regional Scout during the 2016-17 season where he focused on the Minnesota and Midwest region.  He was promoted to Director of Hockey Operations beginning in the 2017–18 season and has continued in that role. With this promotion, he will become heavily involved in the day to day operations and management of the overall organization.

“While continuing my involvement with the Brown Bears, I am excited to have Chris take over many facets of our organization.  He has proven to be a large contributor to our success this past season and has a strong passion to see the Bears thrive on the Peninsula,” stated General Manager Nate Kiel, who also serves as president of the parent Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation.  “His strong, off ice focus has been on keeping us moving forward as he has been instrumental in many aspects of our business.” KPYF Executive Administrative Assistant Lisa Zulkanycz echoed Kiel’s comments. “Chris is an asset to the Bears and will prove invaluable in this role.”

“I am super excited to take this next step with the Brown Bears!”  said Hedlund.  “This is a great opportunity, with a great organization that has a strong following in the Peninsula area.  Taking lead from a veteran of the league, Nate Kiel, and being asked to guide the franchise with him is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.  The strong local support and great fan base make this an exciting time to be a Brown Bear.”

A native of Anoka, MN, Hedlund has coached AAA youth hockey and served as a scout for NA3HL powerhouse Granite City Lumber Jacks. His experience at Versatex Building Products as Regional Sales Manager for Western US and Canada adds valuable business experience to our hockey operations.  Chris and his wife Teresa reside in Anoka MN and have three children.

We have worked diligently over the past several 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 to volunteer their time at games or events. If you would like to assist please call 907-262-7825 or email