The Spruce Grove Saints are proud to announce the return of Derrick Martin and the hiring of Brennan Menard and Ryan Benn as the Saints assistant coaches for the upcoming 2018-2019 season.
Martin embarks on his first full season as a Saints coach after joining the team in November of last season leaving his post as head coach of the South Side Athletic Clubs Minor Midget AAA Bulldogs hockey team. Derrick brings a wealth of coaching knowledge to the Saints bench; his coaching career includes over 15 years of experience over various levels of hockey from Atom to Junior.
Martin has been involved with Hockey Alberta as Assistant coach for the Alberta Cup (2016). Head Coach of the Peewee Prospects Cup (2015) and Alberta Cup (2017) as well being the Camp Head Coach for the Hockey Alberta U16 Camp.
“I am extremely excited to return to the Spruce Grove Saints for the 18/19 season. The Saints organization is first-class in everything they do. From owners, staff and players, to the best fans in the AJHL it is a special environment to be a part. I am looking forward to getting back on the ice at the Grant Fuhr Arena with our players and staff as we prepare to defend our AJHL title. My family and I would like to thank the Saints ownership group, GM Rob Sklaruk and Head Coach Bram Stephen for the opportunity to continue to grow and develop in Spruce Grove with the Saints."
GM Rob Sklaruk shared his thoughts on the return of Derrick Martin
“It was important for us to bring Derek back this year. He is familiar with our program and has great repour with our current players. He did an excellent job integrating himself into our team and culture part way through last season which is testament of his commitment to teamwork and winning. We are excited to have Derrick and his family back.”
Brennan Menard joins Saints Head Coach Bram Stephen and the aforementioned Derrick Martin on the Saints bench after guiding the Knights of Columbus Pats Midget AAA team to an AMHL North Division title before being defeated in five games by the eventual Alberta Midget AAA Provincial Champion Lethbridge Hurricanes in only his second season as the Pats head coach.
Menard was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario playing junior and collegiate hockey in his hometown for the Fort William North Stars(SIJHL) and at the USPORTS level (formerly known as the CIS) for five years for Lakehead University. Menard finished his playing career in the German Oberliga for 1 season before making the move to Alberta. He then became the head coach of the Knights of Columbus Centennials in the REM AAA league before moving up to take over the Midget AAA program.
“I would like to thank the Knights of Columbus organization, and past players for a first-class experience and an unforgettable 3 years that I will always look back on and cherish.” Thanked Menard. “Moving forward, I would like to thank GM Rob Sklaruk and Head Coach Bram Stephen for giving me this special opportunity to join an elite program, so rich in history with a winning culture. I look forward to meeting, and working with everybody. It feels great to be a Spruce Grove Saint.” Finished Menard.
Sklaruk is encouraged with what he has seen in Menard as a coach.
“Brennan did an exceptional job in his short time with the KC (Knights of Columbus) organization. His success put him on our radar as a potential good fit within our group. He’s a young and driven coach, which makes him a perfect fit for the Saints. Bram, myself and the rest of our organization look forward to working with Brennan this season. We would like to welcome him, his wife Alex and their soon to be child to the Saints family.”
Ryan Benn, a Spruce Grove native, enters a new chapter of his hockey career, transitioning from player to coach after completing a decorated Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) academic/hockey career at Grant MacEwan University as the team captain of back to back ACAC championships. His 5-year collegiate hockey career sees him leave the Griffins as the all-time leading scorer and the recipient of a Bachelors Degree in Communications.
Benn is no stranger to championship winning seasons. He captured an REMHL Midget AA title with the Parkland County Saints, and a Capital Junior Hockey League championship with the Spruce Grove Regals. On both of those championship teams, Ryan was the team captain.
Benn has spent time as an instructor in various hockey academies and is familiar with Head Coach Bram Stephens philosophies playing under Stephen in 4 of his 5 seasons spent at Grant MacEwan.
“Growing up in Spruce Grove makes joining the Saints organization pretty special to me.” Exclaimed Benn. “I am extremely excited to develop my coaching skills under Bram and learn from the rest of the Saints coaches and staff. I am looking forward to meeting all the players and want to thank the ownership and management for giving me this opportunity.” Finished Benn.
Sklaruk certainly values a winner and likes the youthful dynamic Benn will bring.
“Ryan has won wherever he played, that type of experience is invaluable. Ryan will be a great asset to our coaching staff, and a strong contributor to our players individual skill development. Due to being so freshly removed from his playing career, Ryan will have an innate ability to relate and provide feedback to our players in a real positive manner. We are thrilled to have Ryan on board. “
In closing Sklaruk feels the Saints are well positioned behind the bench going into next season.
“As an organization, you always want to find the right mix of knowledge and character to lead your players and team. With Bram at the helm, the return of Derrick Martin and the additions Brennan and Ryan, this solidifies our commitment to providing the best possible coaching and development to our players. They all bring unique attributes that will help with the common goal of building not only skilled hockey players but ambassadors of the great community of Spruce Grove, which we proudly represent.”
Season tickets and flex packs for the 2018-19 season are currently on sale now. You can purchase your seats by calling the Saints office at 780-960-TEAM(8326) or online at tickets.sprucegrovesaints.ca