Brett Gibson named men’s hockey coach

Assistant coach Brett Gibson to take over the role of head coach in Men's Hockey

Gibson said he hopes to improve the team’s conditioning.
Gibson said he hopes to improve the team’s conditioning.
Credit: 
Photo courtesy of goldengaels.com

The sudden departure of Kirk Muller has created an opportunity for another member of the varsity men’s hockey family to shine sooner than expected.

On July 6, Chair Athletics and Recreation John McFarlane announced that 2005-06 assistant coach Brett Gibson would be taking over the role of head coach for the upcoming season.

Gibson, 27, said that he hopes this year’s change will be smooth for everyone.

“Last season was a learning experience for both players and coaches,” he said.

Before last year’s training camp, neither Gibson nor Muller had ever seen the team play.

“I think it will be an easier transition.”

Although taking over the head coach position has always been part of his long-term goals, Gibson said, he never expected the opportunity to arrive so soon.

“When the chance at twenty-seven comes, you jump at it and you run with it.”

He said his age helps him connect with young players.

“I personally have a lot of confidence that Brett will step up,” McFarlane told the Journal.

McFarlane said that before making the announcement he met personally with three returning players. He added that, although the decision to hire coaches is ultimately in the hands of the administration, the returning players were completely behind him in his choice.

Third-year forward Brady Olsen concurred, saying Gibson was quiet but always very approachable.

“Everyone respected him,” he said.

Both McFarlane and Olsen also cited the professional attitude Gibson brings to the ice as one of his greatest strengths.

“He brought a different level of seriousness to [the team],” Olsen said.

Before applying for the head coaching position, Gibson called the players and spoke to them individually about how he would feel if Gibson got the job.

He said the players appreciated his structured and disciplined approach to the game.

“I knew I had their support.”

One thing about Gibson that impressed both McFarlane and Olsen was his game plan for the upcoming season, in particular his plan to implement a tougher pre-season training program.

Gibson said he expects players to be in good physical condition when they show up for training camp.

“If they plan to get in shape during camp, they’re playing for the wrong coach.”

He said he will be testing players on a two-mile run and a series of sprints, as well as weights, sit-ups and push-ups.

“I just feel that at the start of the season you can win two or three games right off the bat if you’re in better shape,” he said.

Olsen said he expects the stricter training camp to act as a weeding-out process for less dedicated players.

Recruitment is another key component of Gibson’s three-year plan to build a competitive program at Queen’s

“You’ve got to get out here and show people that Queen’s is not only a great school but Kingston’s a great place to be for four years,” he said.

He also said that while winning the OUA championships is definitely something the team is working towards, it isn’t the only goal.

“I’m looking to build a program that lasts, not just a one-shot thing.”

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