A new era of St. Lawrence hockey begins under new leadership.
“Our program is going to be based on family.”
That’s what Brent Brekke, the Charles W. Appleton II Head Men’s Hockey Coach told a room full of Laurentians at his formal introduction to the campus community during St. Lawrence’s 2019 Reunion weekend in June.
“From a hockey-specific standpoint, family is the most important piece,” says Brekke. “You play for each other; you’re not just playing for yourself. It’s a bigger picture than the individuals and we want guys to understand that and understand the pride that surrounds the program.”
Brekke stresses that pride doesn’t just come from alumni of the program, but also alumni of the University who never played hockey as well as from members of the Canton and surrounding communities who have been fans and supporters for a long time.
Since his arrival, Brekke has built a staff by adding assistant coaches Tommy Hill and Ben Murphy. With the motto “Strive for Greatness” and adopting a relentless brand of hockey, together, under Brekke’s leadership, the new coaching team is creating a culture based on family.
“Finding people that were motivated in the same way,” says Brekke, “was going to be important in looking at the big picture of what we want to be.”
From the very beginning, Brekke and his staff’s time at St. Lawrence has been unorthodox, having moved the program out of Appleton Arena to allow for major renovations, and arriving after all student-athletes had gone home for the summer. But together, the staff made a lot of phone calls to do as much as they could to build relationships with players leading up to their return to Canton in August.
The message, once the athletes returned to campus, was clear: Believe.
“There’s got to be a trust factor there that we’re all in,” says Brekke. “Everybody’s got to buy in and believe in the things that we want to accomplish and trust that the person next to them is going to do his part to take care of business for the good of the team.”
In terms of identity on the ice, relentlessness has been the focus of the 2019-20 Saints to start the season. “We want to be hard to play against,” Brekke said.
As of press time, they’ve held true to that identity, coming from behind in five of the first 10 games to force overtime.
However, for Brekke and this group, close is not good enough. These Saints will continue to strive for greatness.