The 2023 WHL Cup was a golden experience for Virden Oil Capitals assistant coach Curtis Brolund.
Curtis Brolund served as an assistant coach on Team Manitoba for the prestigious tournament that showcased the top 2008-born players from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Keystone province. Manitoba captured its first ever gold medal at the event in Red Deer in October. The squad beat Team Alberta, 6-5, in a shootout in the final. Brolund described it as a tremendous experience.
“The professional first-class atmosphere was really cool and on another level, I hadn’t experienced before,” he said. “Getting the opportunity to learn and work with other high performance coaches was a lot of fun, and the organization as a whole; the top notch equipment and training staff, the coaching support staff and of course a great group of young high performance athletes who, in a short amount of time, were able to come together to play the way we needed and compete to the best of their abilities and earn our province’s first gold medal in that event.”
Brolund is in his first season with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Oil Capitals. He previously was the head coach of the U18 AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. While serving as a U18 Wheat Kings assistant coach, Brolund worked on current Oil Caps head coach Tyson Ramsey’s staff for that organization and had scouted for the Oil Caps for four seasons. He said he cannot say enough good things about his time in Virden so far. As well, Brolund said the Oil Capitals are “truly a top organization in our province and I believe all of the (Canadian Junior Hockey League).”
“Starting with the community and Oil Caps supporters who are instrumental in the success of any Junior A organization, the fantastic facility, the players and all the staff not just the ones listed in the game roster,” he said. “Obviously having experience working with Tyson in the past has made the transition smooth and (assistant coaches) Brett (Braybrook), Brock (Trotter) and myself have gelled well with similar ideas and thought processes in our coaching styles so it’s been a great fit.
“Tyson, Marc (Berry, assistant general manager) and the great scouting staff have assembled a great roster for this season and we’ve had a pretty good start, we’re looking forward to getting the best out of this group and competing at the highest level trying to bring the first championship to ‘Oil Country.’”
Braybrook’s second stint as an assistant coach with the Oil Caps started in 2020. He has also previously served as a video coach and scout for the team. Like Brolund, Trotter is in his first season with the Oil Caps. He enjoyed an extensive pro career. Ramsey said he is very fortunate to have the coaching staff he does this season.
“Brett has been a big part of the club for a number of years and his passion and knowledge of the game at all levels is such a benefit to our program and community. I am so grateful to have had Brett here with me since I got the head coaching job here. Curtis, who I have worked with before, brings a wealth of knowledge in so many aspects of the game and has really fit in nicely with our group. He easily develops positive relationships with the players, is a student of the game, and pushes himself and our players to get better every day. Brock Trotter has been a very nice addition part-time for us. His knowledge and experiences in the game, playing at a high level, is so valuable to our players and he brings a positive energy with him every day he is here. He is such a bright young mind.
“It is my pleasure to be working with these guys every day. They keep me young, and I am quite certain I am learning more from them than they are from me. Our team is in great hands.”