GTHL Awards season is here. To celebrate, we will be profiling each of the 12 award winners individually leading up to the ceremony on June 16.
Bruce Beechener was in for a challenge when he agreed to coach the Minor Bantam AA Toronto Aces two seasons ago. With 13 years of coaching experience already behind him, Beechener would take on a team that had a finished tenth the previous season. Under the guidance of Beechener, the Aces would go on to finish second the following season, winning the East Championship. The 2016-17 campaign would fare even better for the team who would win the Kraft Cup, the East Championship, and finish second in Ontario hockey rankings for their division.
“Players and parents will never forget his energy, passion and the excitement he brought to every young man on the team,” said a parent of one of the Ace’s players. “He created a winning attitude focused on leadership, class and respect for the game and each other.”
Prior to taking on the Aces, Beechener coached for several seasons at the “AAA” level before taking on teams in the “AA” division. He will be coaching the Markham Majors Minor Midget “AAA” team next season.
Beechener will be presented with the Herb Ebisuzaki Coaching Award on June 16. The award is presented to a coach (Competitive, Select or House League) who best exemplifies the true spirit of coaching, including the capability to improve performance of an individual or team while ensuring each player’s experience is a priority.
Herb Ebisuzaki was the Technical Director of Coaching for the GTHL, a position he held from 1995 to 2014. Herb is a retired teacher and played a leading role in championing further development of minor hockey coaching programs in Canada, serving as an outstanding ambassador for the GTHL.