View Full Version : Appleby a coach?

02-03-2005, 11:15 AM
The third trade in Braden Appleby's WHL career won't require a change in address.

Just a change in apparel.

The 20-year-old forward, who's out for six weeks with a knee injury, has been asked by Regina Pats head coach Curtis Hunt to help out behind the bench during his recovery.

Appleby accepted the offer and will officially trade in his jersey for a suit and tie tonight against the host Prince Albert Raiders.

"It's kind of an honour that they have enough respect for me to ask me to do something like that," said Appleby, a product of Viking, Alta. "Sitting in the stands every day, it's hard. Even though I'm injured and I want to play, (helping out on the bench) is going to be something interesting and something to look forward to."

It's rare for injured players to serve in a coaching capacity, but Appleby is an exception to the rule. The Red Deer Rebels used goalie Cam Ondrik in a similar capacity during his last season before hiring him the next year as a full-time assistant.

Although Appleby is relatively new to Regina -- acquired on Sept. 4 from the Vancouver Giants -- he wears an A on his chest and is one of the team's most trusted leaders.

The coaches love his work ethic, outgoing personality and positive attitude.

"I'll just bring some energy to the bench," Appleby said of his new role. "Obviously I'm not going to be telling the boys what to do, but just bring some energy and help out where I can.

"If guys have a good shift, let them know. If you can help them out to do something better, you let them know. It'll be just like I'm sitting there but I won't have any equipment on."

Hunt planted the bug earlier this week when he approached Appleby about the possibility of a future in coaching.

Incidentally, it wasn't the first time the subject had come up.

"A couple summers ago I was a team leader at an under-17 provincial camp in Calgary," recalled Appleby. "I had a team there and I did a little bit of work with them. I just like doing it. I've always had an interest in coaching. When we were talking about it and Huntsy asked me, it kind of sparked that again.

"It's kind of a chance to get a taste and see what it's like," he added. "I can watch the whole game and think about what our team is doing instead of just what I'm doing. Just kind of have a little different perspective."

The timing of Appleby's injury is poor for the Pats, who are trying to hold off the Moose Jaw Warriors in the East Division playoff race.

But if Appleby's rehabilitation goes well, he's still on target to be back in early to mid-March. Regina concludes the regular season on March 20 against the Warriors.

"If he gets back, it'll be right in the thick of it," noted Hunt. "I want him to maintain involvement as much as possible to see the little tweaks and changes we do so he can jump in without missing a stride."

Appleby's injury, a partially torn MCL, is similar to the one that kept Jon Bubnick out of Regina's lineup for eight weeks.

It's the first major injury of Appleby's four-year WHL career. This is his final season of junior eligibility.

"It potentially could have been the last game I ever played in the league," noted Appleby, who was hurt last Friday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. "I definitely want to play some more games. We'll just work at it as hard as we can so I can get back before the playoffs

Fight Guy
02-03-2005, 11:49 AM
Ahh yes...I was going to post this, but never got around to it...well, pretty much just forgot. It's good to see him behind the bench. Should be a good learning experiense. I havent read the article since it was in the paper last week, but I do recall he helped coach somewhere else too, and he said he really enjoyed it. So maybe helping out now may be the start of things to come.

02-03-2005, 12:06 PM
I think this was a great decision. Appleby was already helping out more than anyone gave him credit for. He has been a great asset in the locker room with the younger guys. I dont think he'll be doing much on the bench other than giving out advice and encouragement. I kinda wish they would have done something similar with Bubnick tho- he was out for a while too, and I didnt see him behind the bench at all. Im sure he could have served in the same capacity.

Kinda makes you wonder if the Pats are gonna ask Appleby back as an assistant coach next year- kinda like a trial run for now.

Fight Guy
02-03-2005, 12:21 PM
I could see it happening. Mercier Came back as an assistant after he finished his WHL career(which if I remember correctly, was cut short because of his hip). And same with Curtis Austring in Medicine Hat. After his final year, he became an assistant coach too.

02-03-2005, 01:01 PM
He was great in Vancouver, too bad he got caught up in the numbers game here.

02-03-2005, 02:35 PM
Kinda makes you wonder if the Pats are gonna ask Appleby back as an assistant coach next year- kinda like a trial run for now.
Bet on it. This is a pretty sure sign they have plans for him.

02-03-2005, 06:05 PM
Sounds excellent having young Mr Appleby putting back into his team and league by stepping behind the bench and supporting his teammates! I like hearing feel-good stories like this one!