Following the departure of Assistant Coach Shawn Kurulak at the start of the 2009–2010 season, there was a need for a replacement. Although the aid of assistant coaches is crucial to a hockey team, an extensive search was put forth for a substitution with no rush on the process. Last Friday, it was announced that Bryan Vines would be taking over the position left by the void of Kurulak’s untimely departure.
Vines previously was a defenseman under Head Coach Seth Appert at the University of Denver, where Appert served as an assistant coach, specializing in recruitment and goaltender development. While under Appert’s guidance, Vines captained the team to a WCHA regular season championship in 2001–2002, as well as the playoff championships, and berth to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. In addition, Vines earned several awards that season, including his third career Sportsmanship Award, the Most Inspirational Player Award, and the Strength and Condition Athlete of the Year among all DU students. Vines also received multiple WCHA All-Academic selections, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an emphasis in public relations.
Following Vines’ collegiate career, he went on to play for the Long Beach Dogs and San Diego Dogs of the WCHL. In 2003, Vines took home Taylor Cup honors with the Gulls, the WCHL equivalent of the Stanley Cup in the NHL. After the WCHL merged with the ECHL, Vines continued to play with the Ice Dogs and Gulls, as well as the Idaho Steelheads, ending his professional hockey career in 2004.
After that, Vines held several positions at the NHL and collegiate level. For three years, Vines was a member of the Colorado Avalanche as a video coach, responsible for reviewing video analysis, creating scouting reports, producing instruction videos, and providing on-ice support. In addition, Vines was a volunteer assistant coach at Miami University where he aided in all aspect of practice for the RedHawks, who were runner-up in the NCAA tournament that season. His skills placed him in direct contact with the defensemen and forwards in skill development, and video teaching sessions. Vines also directed community service activities and taught four courses while at Miami.
In his latest position before joining the Engineers’ staff, Vines was the assistant general manager and assistant coach of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League.
Despite Vines’ young age, his vast experience at all levels of the hockey spectrum will be a huge impact on the Engineers’ squad. Vines will work alongside Appert, Assistant Coach Jim Montgomery, volunteer assistant coach Kevin Broad ’07, and Hockey Operations Coordinator Kevin Anderson.