The new head coach of the Estevan Peewee AA Bruins is a familiar one to the coaching ranks in the city.
Aren Miller, originally from Oxbow, will be the head coach for the hockey team formerly known at the Westmoreland Bruins but is currently looking for a sponsor.
“We get to take some out of town kids now, so that opens up kids from all these communities,” said Miller, who was an assistant on the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins the past few seasons and an assistant on the Atom Tier I Bruins last year, and a former head coach with the Westmoreland team. “A couple of years ago in atom there were three atom AA teams so I think we should be able to put a strong team together.”
The Bruins will be playing in the South Saskatchewan Peewee AA Hockey League against Yorkton, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Weyburn.
“There’s only one returning player this year (Rylan Hansen), so we’re starting with a clean slate of everybody that’s never played AA hockey before,” Miller said. “It will be quite the learning experience and kids are going to have to learn pretty fast the level of play is pretty cranked up compared to what they have been playing.”
With that in mind, Miller has done a lot on the recruiting side to try to get some of the higher quality players from Estevan and surrounding area.
“We’re going to have lots of kids at tryouts, and that’s the plan, is to have as many as you can try out and you pick the best kids,” Miller said. “Today’s game is kind of changing. You need the skill and we’ve got three full days and a couple of exhibition games already lined up with Weyburn. We’re going to take our time and make sure we pick the right kids that get along…”
Miller said it would be a big adjustment for some of the parents when you add the out of town kids into the mix who would be the competition in years past and now are trying out for the same spot.
“I’m excited for it,” Miller said. “It’s always good when you get a competitive camp like that and the more kids, the better, I think.”
Miller coached the peewee AA team that lost in the league final to Swift Current a couple of years ago.
“Once we kind of realize who we’ve got, we’ll go from there and set some goals,” he said. “We’re combining three AA teams from two years ago. We should stack up pretty well against some of those kids but we’ll see what happens at tryouts.”
Those tryouts will be on the Sept. 14-16 weekend at Affinity Place and will culminate in a black and gold game on Sunday afternoon.
The Bruins will only have one practice time per week in Estevan thanks to the closure of the Civic Auditorium and they’ll practice one other day a week at the Arcola rink.
“That helps with the travel for some of the people from out of town, too,” Miller said.