Saskatoon, SK – The Saskatoon Blades held a media conference Thursday morning from SaskTel Centre to release news ahead of 2017 training camp. Blades GM Colin Priestner took to the podium to make two announcements and first on the docket was the extension of the Blades coaching staff.
Blades head coach Dean Brockman is entering his second season at the helm and will have the confidence of his organization behind him after being extended through until the end of the 2020 season. Brockman’s assistants Bryce Thoma and Ryan Keller were also signed to multi-year contract extensions after the trio kept the Blades in the fight until the bitter end last season despite an unusual wave of significant injuries.
Priestner expressed his faith in Brockman’s coaching staff and mentioned the players’ opinions of the staff was also a factor. “This group of coaches did an unbelievable job of navigating our team last year, and keeping the room positive,” said Priestner. “Our players in our feedback sessions at the end of last season were just glowing about the development and the communication they received from Dean and his staff, and it was a really positive way to end the season even though it was a tough way to end on the ice.”
Dean Brockman told reporters after the announcement he looks forward to continuing what he started with the Blades, and having the extension will only help further his relationship with his players. “Just to build that continuity, it’s big because it tells your players that I’m going to be the guy they’re going to have to listen to over the next couple of years and it allows you to develop that deeper rapport with them,” explained Brockman. “For me and I think the organization it was important to have stability in this position.”
The Blades bench boss added his pleasure of knowing his assistants will be along for the ride after building a strong bond in their first season together. “We have to be one unit and having those guys back, it’s great. There’s not a lot of awkwardness because we know what everybody is thinking whether we’re on the same page or not on the same page. To have Chevy (Tim Cheveldae) and Jerome (Engele) and our training staff back, everybody knows how to react, it’s great.”
Priestner then returned to the podium to make one more announcement, something that most fans in Saskatoon felt was coming… the return of the retro blue & gold uniforms, AKA the pacmans. Back by popular demand, the Blades will now use the “pacman” jerseys and logo moving forward for home and away games. The previous SB logo and colour scheme has been retired.
The Saskatoon Blades open the 2017-18 WHL regular season at home on Friday, September 22nd versus the Swift Current Broncos. Game time is 7:00pm at SaskTel Centre.