'Humbled, honoured, proud': Saskatoon Blades announce new head coach
SASKATOON -- The Saskatoon Blades have announced that Brennan Sonne is the 18th head coach in the franchise’s history.
“Humbled, honoured, proud, and excited,” said the 34-year-old Sonne. “It's a big responsibility, it's a big challenge, and there comes a lot of excitement with that.”
“He's someone I think has just got an extremely bright future,” said Blades general manager Colin Priestner.
Sonne spent the three previous years as a head coach in Ligue Magnus, a French professional league. Before that, Sonne was an associate coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, where he got to know outgoing Blades head coach Mitch Love.
“Brennan had been spoken highly of by Mitch for years to me, and I never had a chance to meet him,” said Priestner.
Until about a month ago. While Love was in the process of joining the AHL’s Stockton Heat, a lunch meeting was set up between Sonne and Priestner.
“Just to kind of get to know each other,” said Priestner.
“I felt really good about it, we had a great connection,” said Sonne. “It was more two people just getting to know each other. I mean, we talked a little hockey and theory and that kind of stuff. It was more broad, and we talked a lot about life and who we are as human beings so it was a great conversation.”
When the Blades head coaching position became vacant, Priestner says there were other interesting applicants but Sonne set himself apart.
“I didn't expect it to end up like this a couple weeks later,” said Sonne.
Blades associate coach Ryan Marsh, who joined the team in 2018, was not considered for the job.
“Colin was great at being very upfront,” he said.
“He had another guy in mind right away and the communication was excellent, and you know we had a really good chat last week about it all, and we're all on the same page.”
“Ryan had a great dinner last night with Brennan and his wife, and got to know each other,” said Priestner.
“Ryan's an unbelievable team player, I don't think there's any guy you'd rather have on your side, whether you were out in the forest and needed a guy to share a tent with or if you're on a hockey team, like Ryan's going to have your back.”
Sonne says he’ll be leaning on Marsh to hit the ground running in Saskatoon, as expectations for his team will be high.
“Things have been going really well here and I think this is a great opportunity to take it to the next level, and I think Brennan's that guy to continue doing what we're doing,” said Priestner.
Sonne says the WHL has a clearer path to coaching in the AHL and NHL than in the European professional ranks, which factored into his decision.
“I think that that path is trodden, and I hope to follow in their footsteps,” he said of coaches like Love.
“This is a phenomenal league, I can't wait to work with the players here and the staff, and it would be absolutely eventually one of my goals to progress to where those guys have gotten.”