Word today that the Trail Smoke Eaters have not renewed the contract of Assistant Coach Brian Youngson. I was able to confirm that Brian would indeed not be back with the club. However, the Smokies didn't make an official statement on the matter.
As for Brian, I know he has been pursuing full time work opportunities in the community. He's a family man who welcomed a young son to the Youngson clan last summer. It strikes me that at this point that family is Brian's top priority. As much as hockey is a passion for him I think practical interests come into play as well. I know we all have those thoughts sometimes! Either way he'll be successful at whatever it is he does.
I know I'll miss having him around. Over the past 3 years I've certainly come to consider Brian a friend. I also owe him big because he introduced me to my girlfriend. That's a debt I can never repay. He's a great guy with a hell of a sense of humour who it is always fun to talk hockey with. I know he was always very accommodating to me whenever I needed something and I look forward to continuing that friendship away from the bus and the rink.
Youngson joined the Smoke Eaters for the 2006-07 season under Tim Kehler. The team had a very good season finishing 3rd and winning a playoff round. He's been with the club now for four seasons and has become ingrained in the community. I've always known Brian to have a good relationship with the players, but he won't pull any punches either. He's got a good eye for the game and I've learned a lot from our conversations. No one can say he didn't make a very solid contribution over his tenure with the team.
Youngson started his coaching career as an assistant with Fernie in the KIJHL. That's a team that Brian has been proudly associated with as a player and a coach. He had a good junior career and has proved to be a capable and personable coach as well. That booming voice alone can make an impression.
For whatever reason at this time both the team and Brian needed a change. Sometimes the same situation can get stale. I think it'll end up being good for all involved. I'm certainly curious to see what Coach Ingram and the club do in terms of filling that void.
For now I just wanted to say thanks for Brian for everything he's done for me and for the Smoke Eaters. I'm sure a lot of people in and out of the organization feel the same way.
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