Brendan Adams
0 Points
Brett Akins
.000 Save Percentage
Col. Valley 0 0
Creston 0 0
Fernie 0 0
Golden 0 0
Kimberley 0 0
Beaver Valley 0 0
Castlegar 0 0
Grand Forks 0 0
Nelson 0 0
Spokane 0 0
100 Mile 0 0
Chase 0 0
Kamloops 0 0
Revelstoke 0 0
Sicamous 0 0
Kelowna 0 0
North Okanagan 0 0
Osoyoos 0 0
Princeton 0 0
Summerland 0 0

Revelstoke Grizzlies
2018-2019 KIJHL Champions
Cyclone Taylor Cup Champions
JUNE 6, 2011

Thunder Cats Hockey Is Heaven

Thunder Cats Hockey Is Heaven

Creston Valley Thunder Cats

It’s official.  The departure of Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats junior hockey team is now part of local hockey history and the hiring of Brent Heaven as the new head coach and general manager starts a brand new era.
“Now I can sleep at night”, Joanne Endicott, President of the hockey club was quoted after short negations ended with the signing of Heaven.  “It is sad to see Joe go, but Brent will be an awesome addition to continue where Joe left off and take our club in a new direction.  We are looking forward to the team that Brent will build and develop.”
Last season was one of the most exciting in Thunder Cats recent history, with the team pushing rival Fernie Ghostriders to a seventh and deciding game in round 2, losing the final by one goal.  “It was the best team that I can ever remember” says Endicott.
The finals of the KIJHL Championship were between the Castlegar Rebels and the Osoyoos Coyotes at the end of last season, with the exciting series ending with Osoyoos Coyotes taking the series 4 games to 2.  This is where it gets interesting for Thunder Cat hockey.  The Castlegar Rebels team that vied for the championship was built by Brent Heaven, as he was their head coach and general manager from 2007 to 2010, after serving the previous two years as the assistant coach and assistant GM.  “Although he wasn’t coaching the team last season that was his team he built” departing Thunder Cats GM Joe Martin added.  “If you look at the stats, Castlegar had a very good team under Brent and that team last year was his team.  He is a very good at recruiting and player development.”
The Castlegar Rebels record under Heaven was a staggering 99-51-2-10, or a .648 win percentage.  In the 2009-2010 season, Heaven was named the Coach of the Year in the Neil Murdoch Division.  In the KIJHL, this is no small feat, as these teams are built by careful recruiting and player development to bring the best out of the young men who play junior B hockey.  As the life of a hockey coach goes though, the lack of brining a championship to Castlegar and the wanting a new direction saw Heaven’s contract not renewed for last season, leaving Brent on the outside looking in for the first time in his coaching career.  Last season, Heaven was the co-coach of the Kootenay Ice Major Midget team, leaving him wanting back behind the bench in junior hockey.
Heaven’s coaching doesn’t end there.  He has worked as the Head Coach for the IDT player development program offered by OHA, worked for “Inside Edge Hockey Development” and many other hockey schools and power skating clinics.  And when Brent isn’t working as a coach?  He spends his off-season attending coaching clinics, keeping him up to date on new coaching strategies, ideas and networking with others.  “You never stop learning about coaching hockey” Brent adds.
Heaven, like many coaches has a playing career behind him as well.  He has played for the Quesnel Millionaires and Powell River Kings of the BCHL.  He finished his junior hockey playing days in the KIJHL, playing for the former Osoyoos Heat, going out with a bang as most valuable player, most inspirational player for the regular season and most valuable player for the playoffs.  This was followed up with playing Senior Mens’ “AAA” hockey for the Seattle Indians before stepping behind the Castlegar Rebels as the Assistant Coach.  Although this wasn’t his first coaching gig, coaching some minor hockey before, this is when the coaching bug took over to make a career at it.
Brent also comes as a very complete package to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats besides his hockey background, which includes an education in business, marketing and computer automated design from BCIT and Kwantlen University, including working as the general manager of a sporting goods store.  “The business background combined with his experience will be a very valuable asset to this organization.” Endicott summed up.  “When the hiring committee met with him, our only thoughts were how quickly could we get him under contract.  There was pressure to all of this as Brent had other coaching offers within the KIJHL and was determined to be behind the bench somewhere this upcoming season, but thankfully for us, we were Brent’s first choice as well and we could come to terms on a contract.”
The club received numerous resumes for the head coach and general manager position, even before the team officially posted Joe Martin’s departure.  “Word gets out quickly in the hockey world” Martin quipped about the number of resumes sent in.  “There were some good applicants, even a former NHLer, but the club needed a good solid person with junior hockey experience, even better when Brent comes with experience in the league.  I checked with other clubs in the league and got terrific feedback about Brent.  It is so important in this league to have a good relationship with other teams or it is difficult to make trades and player deals.  Brent has that respect and working relationship in place and that is huge.”
Heaven will start with the club at the beginning of July, contacting returning players and confirming players for main camp at the end of August.  Brent is recently married stating “My wife is a hockey nut, so she supports this move for us.”  In the short term Brent will be moving to Creston alone, with plans of moving his wife here at a later date.
Through all the excitement of a new coach and general manager, this all comes at the departure of Joe Martin, who is the second Creston Valley Thunder Cats coach to get coaching jobs in the BCHL coaching junior A.  The Thunder Cats are pleased with the announcement that their Head Coach / GM has accepted the position of assistant coach and assistant general manager position with the Merritt Centennials working with Head Coach / GM Luke Pierce.
Martin’s contract expired at the end last season, and after lengthy negotiations, Martin signed on for another two years, but it only lasted for a few days.  “It was totally unexpected, but I get a call offering this position {with Merritt Centennials} and it is a terrific opportunity for me” added Martin about his departure.  The contract Martin agreed to only prevented him from moving to another team within the KIJHL, not moving up to a higher league, such as junior A.
Over the past four years the Cats under Coach Martin have won a Regular Season Division Title, two first round playoff wins, travelled to the Yukon with the team, and moved 10 players onto college hockey, 10 players onto Jr A hockey, while boasting a regular season record of 112-68-24.
Martin reminisces about highlights of his time in Creston, "There are so many good memories for me in Creston, just being able to go to the rink everyday is a huge highlight.  Taking part in community events (Gleaners Fundraiser-Stuff the Bus, the annual Christmas Parade, etc), bus trips with the best staff in the KIJHL, and the knowledge that every day we are trying to develop young men into great citizens of life. Leaving Creston was a difficult decision that we did not prepare for, Katelyn and I are proud to have lived in the community for four years.  We developed good friendships there and plan to spend some time there each summer.” 
 “It speaks volumes about Joe when players at the end of last seaso


Byron Walker
Eastern Washington University

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