It was a whirlwind of a season for the Battlefords North Stars this past year. Ranked #1 in the CJHL for a majority of the 2022-2023 regular season, winning an SJHL Championship, and finishing 2nd at National Championship.
With major success comes major recognition. Throughout the year a number of members of the Stars received praise for their play, but during the Centennial Cup in May it was their Head Coach who received arguably the biggest honour.
That’s when Stars’ Head Coach and General Manager Brayden Klimosko was announced as the 22/23 CJHL Coach of the Year.
“It was obviously an honour, but it took some time to sink in probably because it was announced at the Centennial (Cup) and we had other things we were worried about at the time,” shared Klimosko to SJHL.ca
“It’s definitely an honour for me because I had a chance to coach with Darcy (Haugan) and with the trophy being named after him, it meant lots.”
As part of this incredible accomplishment, Klimosko received a trip down to Nashville for the 2023 NHL Draft and the 2023 NHLCA’s Global Coaches’ Clinic where he was formally presented his award.
“It was a really cool experience. Once they gave me my award on stage it was pretty nerve racking seeing 700 coaches looking at you.”
Another great part about the trip down to Nashville for Klimosko was the fact he didn’t go alone.
“I think the coolest part about it though was it’s not just an individual award. They (the NHLCA) allow Gary (Childerhose), my Assistant to come along. So he got to tag along and for us to experience everything together was the coolest part,” stated Klimosko.
“There is so much more to being a coach than just one guy doing it. It’s a staff. It’s the players. I think they do a really good job of not only rewarding us, but rewarding the team as well with a few perks.”
These perks included $5,000 directly to the Battlefords North Stars from the NHL Coaches Association and $5,000 worth of Bauer hockey equipment for the team.
Another major part of the trip was the NHLCA’s Coaches Conference which saw around 700 coaches from all over the world in attendance.
“There were a ton of coaches from a number of different of levels there. Lots of different guys with lots of different experiences. It was cool getting some NHL coaches opinions and pick their brains a little bit on how they coach and their systems and how they do things.”
While the entire journey to Nashville for the NHLCA Coaches Conference and NHL Draft was filled with lifelong memories for the Stars’ Head Coach, the best memory of all for him was being able to have his wife and son there to share the experience.
“For my family to get to experience what Nashville was all about, it was lots of fun seeing them enjoy it. It was my son’s first time on an airplane so he was really excited to go. We got to experience July 4th down there and that was spectacular. It was really cool to have a family trip out of this as well because they are the ones behind the scenes who don’t get much recognition. I am gone for most of the months from September to May this year, so it was great they could enjoy a little bit of this as well.”
Klimosko and his family have returned from their once in a lifetime trip and now the reigning CJHL Coach of the Year will turn his attention towards the 23/24 season in the Battlefords where his Stars will look much different this coming season with a number of players graduating and moving on to the next level.
“I was doing the tally and I think I’m going to lose 207 goals from last year’s team. That’s a crazy amount. However, the guys that are coming back are owed an opportunity that they didn’t get last year and this will be a great opportunity for them to take the team under their wings.”
This coming year is also set to be a monumental one for the Stars organization as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary as a franchise in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.