ESTEVAN - Thursday was a busy day for the Estevan Bruins.
It started with the announcement the club has hired Drew Kocur as the club’s new assistant coach. Kocur will take over the role vacated by Phil Fife, who accepted the head coach/GM position with the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League back in May.
Kocur, a 27-year-old from Regina, joins the Bruins after leading the Pilot Butte Storm to the 2022-23 championship in the Prairie Junior Hockey League junior B league.
Kocur was also named the PJHL’s coach of the year.
“We are very excited to be adding Drew Kocur to our coaching staff this season. Drew brings championship experience to our organization and he knows what it takes to win,” said Bruins head coach and GM Jason Tatarnic.
“You truly understand what it takes to win after you achieve that goal. Our goal as an organization is advancement for our players but also for our coaches. Drew is motivated to become a head coach one day and those are the type of people we want to surround ourselves with.
“With a new staff member comes new ideas and I am really looking forward to working with Drew. His main focus will be working with the defencemen, special team responsibilities and will be involved in all of our skill development programs such as the Breakfast with the Bruins Program.”
“We’re really excited to welcome Drew to the Bruins family,” added president Josh Biggs. “In speaking with him over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been really impressed with his experience and focus on skills development as well as his desire to work with local minor hockey players. He’ll be a great addition to the Bruins and our city. Welcome to Estevan, Drew.”
Thursday also marked the SJHL draft. The Bruins selected one player in the draft for 2007-born talent, and two more 2008-born draft.
In the 2007 draft, the Bruins selected Wyatt Bouvier of Saskatoon with the 55th pick. Bouvier went 1-13 with a 4.51 goals against average and a .858 save percentage last season with the Yorkton U18 AAA Maulers.
The previous season, he backstopped the Saskatoon Bandits to a Saskatchewan U15 AA Hockey League title.
Estevan passed on its selection for the sixth round.
They also selected two players in the 2008-born player draft. The first was Gunner Moore, a forward from Carievale who led the Estevan TS&M U15 AA Bruins in scoring last season with 28 goals and 56 points in 29 games.
He has committed to play for the Estevan Steelhaus U18 AAA Bears next season.
The other pick was Brock Kolibab, a 2008-born forward who played with the Saskatoon Stallions U15 AA program. He had 21 goals and 40 points in 19 games last season.
The Bruins also announced a trade Thursday, sending their second-round pick in Thursday’s draft for 2007-born talent and a player-development fee to the Kindersley Klippers for Liam Bell.
Bell, a 2003-born defenceman from Saskatoon, has played two seasons in the SJHL with the Nipawin Hawks and the Klippers. Last season with Kindersley, he had three goals, 12 points and 57 penalty minutes in 42 games.
“Bell defends well, he is very steady in the defensive zone and his mobility allows him to join the rush,” said Tatarnic. “We are very excited to have Liam joining us this season.”