Ehren Menard (left) and Todd Skirving (right) have joined the Cranbrook Bucks hockey operations staff as assistant coaches. Photo courtesy Cranbrook Bucks.

Cranbrook Bucks add two assistant coaches to hockey operations staff

The Cranbrook Bucks have made some coaching changes ahead of it’s inaugural season.

Two new assistant coaches have been brought on board, with Ehren Menard and Todd Skirving joining the ranks, while Adam Stuart departed Cranbrook following an opportunity with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Hockey program.

“I am looking forward to working alongside Ehren and Todd in order to provide our players with the best available development and coaching during this upcoming phase of the season,” said Ryan Donald, Head Coach and General Manager of the Cranbrook Bucks. “Both guys have shown an incredible amount of enthusiasm about the opportunity to coach in the BCHL, and our players will certainly reap the benefits of their knowledge, energy, and passion for the game.”

Menard has been coaching with the Knights of Columbus (KC) Hockey program in Edmonton for the last six years, working with the KC U18 and KC U16 teams. Most recently, he was the head coach of the U16 team as well as the Director of Hockey Operations for both the U16 and U15 programs.

Menard also has experience working with Hockey Alberta High Performance programming as a staff member for Team Edmonton at the Alberta Cup in 2019.

“We are excited to bring Ehren on board with us for the remainder of this season,” said Donald. “Ehren is a motivated young coach that has spent the past few years working with various levels of the KC organization in Edmonton. His passion and excitement for coaching are evident, and he will be an excellent addition for our players both on and off the ice.”

Skirving is a BCHL alumni with the Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings, graduating to a collegiate career with the Rochester Institute of Technology before embarking on a pro career — a journey he is still pursuing despite minor pro leagues and franchises operating in flux amid COVID-19.

“Todd is a great addition to our staff as we head into the final stretch of the year,” said Donald. “He is an enthusiastic young man who has been sidelined for the 2020-21 ECHL season as his team in St. John’s opted out for this year. Although he has been staying sharp and preparing for next season, coaching is something that he has grown interested in, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get his feet wet.

“As a former BCHL, NCAA, and current professional player, our guys will greatly benefit from his first-hand knowledge and experience.”

While Stuart’s time with the Bucks was brief, he expressed his departure was ‘bittersweet’.

“I would like to thank Nathan Lieuwen and Ryan Donald for everything they have done for me, on a professional level but as well as a personal level,” said Stuart. “It is especially sad to leave behind such a great group of young men who I know will one day bring a championship to this great town. This is an elite program and I’m very proud to say I was a part of the inaugural season. With that said I look forward to my next role with NAX and the opportunity to continue my coaching career. Go Bucks Go!”

Donald thanked Stuart for helping with building up the organization in it’s early days.

“I would like to sincerely thank Adam for his time here in Cranbrook, as he helped us lay the foundation for what this organization will be moving forward, said Donald. “One of our aims as an organization is to help grow, develop, and promote the people within our walls, and this certainly continues on to our coaching staff. I would like to wish Adam nothing but the best in his future at NAX and I look forward to continuing a strong working relationship with him.”

The Bucks are hoping to release a full player roster in the coming days, and are preparing to participate in the upcoming BCHL season that was recently approved by the league’s board of governors and the provincial health officer.

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