It is really no surprise that Red Deer Rebels newest assistant coach Brad Flynn caught the coaching bug.
Flynn is the son of former NHL assistant coach Danny Flynn, who was most recently the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The elder Flynn has twice coached teams to QMJHL Championships, and lead the Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup semifinal last year.
“He never pushed me towards it,” said the New Glasgow, N.S. native about his father. “Actually he pushed me to university and I got a degree … He coached out east for a long time and I wanted to make my own path. That’s why I went to Manitoba then Texas. He’s been extremely supportive, just like my mother.”
Brad is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Rebels, after spending the past two years as the head coach of the Corpus Christi IceRays in the North American Hockey League.
The Rebels’ gig is his first in the WHL, after a brief stint as an assistant in 2015 with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL.
“I’m a real positive kind of person. So just bringing a great attitude and hard work ethic and hopefully that rubs off on the players, because you want positive, hard working guys to play for you,” he said.
After the departure of Rebels’ assistant Jeff Truitt, GM/head coach Brent Sutter brought in Flynn and Ryan Colville as assistants.
Flynn was hired by Sutter earlier this spring. Flynn, 33, said he’s already beginning to understand how well regarded the organization really is in the hockey world in his short time here.
“When you get here, it’s really blown me away,” said Flynn. “I’ve been fortunate, with my father, I’ve been around major junior my whole life. To see this organization, it’s a mini NHL. The kids, the staff, everybody is treated like the NHL. The people here have been unbelievable.”
In his playing days, Flynn played left wing and spent four seasons with the Brock Badges in the CIS, after a year in 2006 at the University of Southern Maine. He also suited up for the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2011-2012.
He hopes that his coaching experience and unique hockey journey will help bring a new flavour to the Rebels bench.
“You can use all the buzzwords you want, but at the end of the day it comes down to winning little battles and doing things the right way,” Flynn said.
“I think that’s what the philosophy here in Red Deer is and I think I can add to that, while just bringing a couple different ideas. I have an old saying, if the soup tastes good, don’t change it. Red Deer has been phenomenal for developing and winning. So you don’t want to change it. Sometimes you throw in a little pepper and it helps out.”
The Rebels wrapped up their three-day Prospect Camp on Sunday in Penhold.