From the NHL to minor hockey Brian Willsie still loving the game at all levels

Rob Massey/GuelphToday

By Tony Saxon,

Like most coaches in minor hockey and minor sports organizations, Brian Willsie and his coaching and support staff with the Guelph Minor Hockey Association’s peewee A rep team want their players to have the best possible experience in their chosen sport.

A Guelph Storm graduate whose professional career included parts of 10 seasons in the NHL, Willsie now the director of amateur player development with the Colorado Avalanche and he combined that with coaching minor hockey.

“I started with my oldest boy Owen and spent three years coaching him. I’ve since moved back to my second oldest, Braden,” Willsie said. “I really enjoy it and I have a great support cast of different coaches and parents to help out and I think the boys enjoy it as well. It’s a pretty rewarding thing to do.”

He’s been coaching minor hockey since brining his professional playing career to an end following his 14th professional season in 2014-15.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “The kids, they’re receptive, they’re fun and it kind of brings me back to grass roots when I was growing up in Belmont and you were excited to get to the rink for practices or games or whatever it might be. Things like tournaments were even more exciting because you could play more hockey. I’m excited every time I come to the rink, whether it be for work or for playing myself or coaching these kids.”

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