A pair of Prince George hockey coaches will be returning to their respective clubs next season.
The Cariboo Cougars are welcoming back Tyler Brough for the 2020-21 season as their bench boss, while the Northern Capitals will have Mario Desjardins for a fifth time in the last eight years.
Both coaches led their teams on final-season pushes for better playoff positioning in the Under-18 male and Under-18 female leagues, eventually getting to fifth and third place respectively.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hockey Canada cancelled all sanctioned events for the rest of the 2019-20 season, which included BC Hockey’s amateur postseason tournaments.
Brough has been with the Cariboo Cougars organization for the last six years, serving his first two as an associate under Trevor Sprague before being promoted to the head coaching job in 2017.
His Cats won the final 10 games of the regular-season to solidify their fifth-place spot in Under-18 AAA play despite only three points separating them from second and home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
“We challenged the group, we figured we had to win our way out to give ourselves a chance and we were right and just came up short. So ending on a winning note is always good,” said Brough in an earlier interview.
“It was a battle, we knew it was going to be a battle going throughout the season and couple points we dropped here and there cost us. But as it goes, the end of our season was pretty good, you know, we were on a 10-game unbeaten streak, so we’re hoping to take that into playoffs. We knew once the season kind of came to a close in the last 20 games, we knew we were going to play a good team in the playoffs.”
Brough has two B.C. banners to his coaching resume, one as an associate in 2017 and as the leader in 2019.
The Cougars were scheduled to meet the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in the first-round of playoffs.
In Under-18 female AAA action, Desjardins bolstered the Northern Capitals to eight wins in their last 10 games
The ladies went from below- to above-500 in a span of one season under Desjardins’ leadership with an 18-12-2 record and a third-place finish.
“The girls have been working hard on and off the ice,” said Desjardins in an earlier interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters down the home-stretch of the 2019-20 season.
“Every Monday, they’re going to dryland training and they’ve been working hard at that. Staying in game shape is most important, especially when we finish this part of the season. We did run a pretty short bench [...], but overall, the girls [were] pumped and ready to go.”
Desjardins was the bench boss when the Caps won back-to-back provincial championships in 2015 and 2016, his second and third seasons with Prince George’s top female team.
Had the season continued, the Capitals would’ve played the Fraser Valley Rush in the best-of-three semi-finals.