BRAMPTON, ON – The Brampton Beast are proud to announce today the hiring of Phil Oreskovic as the Beast’s Assistant Head Coach. Oreskovic formally announced his retirement as a player yesterday after returning from a lengthy stint on the long-term injured reserve, and will continue to be an integral part of the Beast’s on-ice operations from behind the bench.
“Phil is the only player to ever play for the Leafs, Marlies, Battalion and Brampton Beast,” said Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan of the hiring. “He has consistently been a leader in the community and has always been a very popular player.”
Cary is confident Oreskovic will be well suited to making a natural transition from player to assistant coach. Already the veteran blueliner has had positive impact on the young defense core since moving behind the bench when Terry Richardson was relieved of his duties as assistant coach in mid-January.
A native of Brampton, Ontario, Oreskovic is no stranger to hockey in the area, having spent four seasons with the OHL’s Brampton Battalion where he holds the franchise record for most penalty minutes (526 PIM).
The third round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005, Oreskovic played a 196 games with the Toronto Marlies and won the team’s ‘American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year Award’ for his outstanding contributions to the Greater Toronto Area community during the 2007-08 season.
“It’s an exciting situation to be a part of here in Brampton and it was an easy choice for me to make,” said Oreskovic on Tuesday. “Cary and Brent [Hughes] have both done a great job in helping me with the transition. It’s a unique situation as Brent has done it himself before, going from player to coach, and I’m excited to continue learning from him.”
The bruising defenseman was called up to the NHL for 10 games with the Leafs in 2008-2009, scoring a goal and adding an assist in addition to 21 penalty minutes with the big club. Prior to signing with the Beast, Oreskovic served as the Assistant Captain of the Toledo Walleye last year, and has been a tremendous leader and team ambassador since joining the Beast this season.
“If you look at our defensive core we have a lot of rookies and young players,” said Head Coach Hughes. “Phil is a someone they look up to. He has played in the NHL, the highest level of hockey. For these young guys who are hungry and want to move up in the hockey ranks, Phil can give them guidance on how to be a pro both on and off the ice.”
Hughes believes Oreskovic will be relied upon to provide defensive expertise to a blue-line that has continued to improve as the season has progressed, and will be an instrumental figure behind the Beast bench.
“We are both very ambitious and want to make this team better, not just for this year but for the long run,” said Oreskovic. “These are hungry young players that are looking to make it to the next level. As someone who has been there before I want to teach them, and I feel I have a lot to offer.”
The Beast return home to the Powerade Centre this weekend for a three-game homestand beginning Friday, March 6 on Star Wars Night, with the players wearing unique Star Wars jerseys to be auctioned after the game and the 501st Canadian Legion in attendance. The fun continues on Sunday, March 8 with fans having the opportunity to meet their favourite Brampton Thunder players on Women’s Hockey Day at 2:00 pm.
For more information on Brampton Beast flex tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 2015-16 season tickets, call 905-564-1684 or visit bramptonbeast.com.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 541 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2013-14 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Brampton Beast
The Brampton Beast was founded in January 2013. The Brampton Beast finished in sixth place and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in their inaugural year. The team was recognized as the he Community Relations Franchise of the Year in their first year of operation.