Peninsula Panthers pick up new coach with hockey pedigree

Local hockey club comes to agreement with Brad Tippett as new bench boss.

Brad Tippett

Brad Tippett has already been on the ice with some of the Peninsula Panthers hopefuls this month.

Now, the former coach of the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats has agreed to work the bench for the local Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team.

On Monday morning, Panthers’ team owner and general manager Pete Zubersky reported that he and Tippett had agreed that the Regina native would take on the head coaching and hockey operations role this season. Former coach Rob Mortin left the team prior to this month’s development camps to pursue other opportunities.

Zubersky said Tippett approached him about the Panthers and the two met on several occasions and “hit it off.” On Monday morning, after much discussion, Zubersky said he agreed to coach the team.

“I think it’s going to be a great fit,” Zubersky said. “I think the guy just loves the game.”

He added Tippett has come to Sidney to be closer to his mother, who already lives here. He is currently back in Regina and is expected to arrive on the Peninsula by Sunday — and be on the ice in time for the Panthers’ main camp later this month.

“Very excited for the opportunity to work with young men who share a passion for the game of hockey,” Tippett stated through the Panthers organization. “From first time Pete and I first met for a coffee – I knew we shared a vision for developing young players – both on and off the ice.”

Zubersky said Tippett brings with him some excellent connections with higher levels of hockey.

Tippett is the brother of Dave Tippett, who coaches the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL. Brad’s last coaching job (not including minor hockey roles) was with the Regina Pats from 1989 to 1993. He was a general manager with the Prince Albert Raiders in the mid-1980s. His playing career saw him at the University of Michigan on a scholarship, the American Hockey League’s Sherbrooke Jets, as well as junior hockey experience in Saskatchewan.

Tippett was inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Most recently, Tippett was listed as owning his own financial services company.

“I have had a chance to be on the ice a couple of times with the majority of the players – I’m impressed with their skill level and eagerness to learn,” Tippett said of this year’s Panthers squad. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the Peninsula community.”

Zubersky said the players in camp this month have been reacting well to Tippett’s early work on the ice.

“He brings credibility to his role as head coach,” he added, “and he has great connections for kids if they are looking at opportunities at a different level.”

The Panthers’ main camp began Wednesday at Panorama Rec., with exhibition games Aug. 26 and 28.

The season opener is Sept. 2 at Panorama.