Grande Prairie, AB
March 21, 1979
Cariboo Cougars Head Coach/Cougars Alumnus (1996-1999)
Q: The Telus Cup has come and gone. As hosts, I’m sure you would have liked to have won the entire tournament, but despite not winning are you able to look at the event and your past season as a success?
TB: Once I take a step back and look at the event as a whole, I’m very pleased. Sometimes as a coach, you get so wrapped up in the games and the end results, but to see the volunteer work, and the way the city came together to put on yet another event of this magnitude in Prince George sure makes me proud to live in Prince George and to see the city look as good as they did. We obviously didn’t have the success that we wanted, but looking back after a couple of weeks it’s a season that we’re very proud of. We won a league title, set a number of team and individual records, and sometimes in a tournament-setting it’s the team that shows up that day or that weekend that gets the job done. Congratulations to Cape Breton for winning the whole thing. It puts a smile on a guy’s face to see them win for the first time. If it wasn’t us I’m glad it was them because they really seemed to appreciate the championship.
Q: After serving as an assistant coach for the Cariboo Cougars for each of the past two seasons, you are now the head coach. How does that feel?
TB: It’s been in the works for quite some time now. We’ve discussed this in great detail and I’m ready for the challenge. I’m actually really looking forward to the challenge. Trevor Sprague set the standard and set the bar very high. He’s brought championships to the program and I’m ready and I’m willing to take this on and continue to lead the program in a positive direction. With the two years under my belt as an assistant, learning from Trevor and Bryan (MacLean) and playing the game as long as I did – I feel prepared. Coaching’s a funny world. You take bits and pieces from every coach you’ve met and had along the way. You’ve got to use your resources and I’m going to be leaning on Trevor big-time, and he will still be fully involved. RJ and Justin are going to be great assistants, and having Trevor and Bryan working with us is going to be a big help.
Q: When you started working as the Cougars Alumni President six summers ago, could you have imagine that the Prince George Cougars Alumni Hospital Charity Golf Tournament would have evolved into what it is today?
TB: You always imagine it being great, but I don’t think any of us thought it would take off this quickly and as highly as it has as far as the donations that we’ve been able to raise towards the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. The community interest is awesome. We’re already sold out for next year and people get excited about it every summer. Everybody I talk to is excited. We have a sponsor waiting list, and a participant waiting list. It’s a good problem. I’m very proud to be associated with this event. It’s a lot of work for a lot of people, especially Gary Samis. But there’s a huge staff that we work with throughout the year that does their part to make the tournament as successful as it is. You’ve got a great group of volunteers who put in so much time. The hockey world is a small world and it’s awesome to see a lot of good people come together year after year for one common goal.
Q: Favorite memory you have when you played for the Prince George Cougars?
TB: I’m going back to the 96-97 playoff run and the atmosphere in the rink. I can remember skating out for warmup and the hair on the back of your neck stands up, seeing the sea of white. The place was crazy. Lineups for tickets. People sleeping at the CN Centre in tents. You wouldn’t believe it unless you lived it. That’s when Prince George put themselves on the map for being ultra-supportive hockey fans. It was truly amazing and something as a player you never forget. It definitely gives you an extra jump going into games when you’ve got 6000 people on your side. I remember when we played Spokane and Mike Babcock called a timeout and had to bring his team underneath the stands because it was so loud! The fans were stomping, clapping, yelling and screaming. Nobody on Spokane heard a word their head coach was saying. It was pretty amazing!
Q: What is your favorite victory post-game meal.
TB: I’ve always been a medium rare steak guy. There’s just something about winning a game, and treating yourself to a good meal when you’re feeling good. Steak and potatoes has always been my ‘go-too’. It’s a reward for yourself and for the team.
I remember when we played Spokane and Mike Babcock called a timeout and had to bring his team underneath the stands because it was so loud! The fans were stomping, clapping, yelling and screaming. Nobody on Spokane heard a word their head coach was saying. It was pretty amazing! – Tyler Brough reflecting on the 1997 playoffs