The Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) have officially named former NHL defenseman Nathan Oystrick as its head coach for the 2018-19 season.
Oystrick, is a Regina, Saskatchewan native and a former seventh round pick (198th overall) of the Atlanta Thrashers, now Winnipeg Jets, from the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. The 35 year old former blue liner played 65 games NHL games for the Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, putting up five goals and 15 points.
While he didn’t have much NHL success, Oystrick was an AHL star, putting up 40+ points in four of his five full seasons in the world’s second best pro hockey league. Most recently, Oystrick played with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL in 2015-16 where he put up three goals and 18 points in 48 games. He’s also played internationally in the KHL with Prague Lev in the Czech Republic.
The Broncos of course were involved in a serious bus accident on Highway 35 just outside of Nipawin, SK, resulting in the death of 16 individuals, while leaving another 14 injured back in April.
The NHL and the entire hockey world has come together over the past four months in a truly remarkable show of sympathy, compassion and solidarity for the individuals lost and the lives affected by this awful tragedy.
For the full press release courtesy of the Bronco's official website, read below:
HUMBOLDT, SK – July 3, 2018 – Today, the Humboldt Broncos Junior ‘A’ hockey club introduced Regina, Saskatchewan-born Nathan Oystrick as their new head coach and general manager.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be the Humboldt Broncos head coach, and look forward to joining this tremendous community and leading this historic organization, all the while never forgetting the circumstances which have brought me here,” said Oystrick, who comes to the Broncos from his position as head coach of Colorado Academy high school, where he led the school’s 2017-18 team through its first season on the ice in over a decade. “I’m honoured and excited to help lead the Humboldt Broncos toward success in 2018-19.”
Oystrick played professional hockey for 10 seasons, including a combined 65 NHL games between the Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. Prior to his role at Colorado Academy, Oystrick was an assistant coach with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, an affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, and the Elmira Jackals, an affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
In addition to his time in the NHL, Oystrick has appeared in 338 AHL games with the Chicago Wolves, Peoria Rivermen, Portland Pirates and Springfield Falcons, registering 206 points and 553 penalty minutes. He was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team and the AHL Second All-Star Team in 2006-07 with Chicago in addition to being named to the AHL All-Star Game in 2010-11 with Peoria, as well as winning a Calder Cup championship with Chicago in 2007-08.
Before turning pro, Oystrick spent four years playing at Northern Michigan University, two of which he was captain. He earned a plethora of awards and accolades, including being named to the NCAA West Second All-American Team as a senior in 2005-06 and being named the CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman in 2004-05. He was also on the roster of the CCHA First All-Star Team in 2004-05 and the CCHA Second All-Star Team in 2003-04.
“Nathan is an outstanding coach who brings in a combination of exceptional playing experience, solid leadership skills and a winning attitude,” said Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger. “His strong work ethic and his ability to build relationships will be fundamental to the success of rebuilding our program.”
Together with his wife Lindsay and their dog Wiley, Oystrick will make the move from Colorado to Humboldt official at the end of July.
“I understand how much the Broncos have always meant to the community of Humboldt, but I also understand what the team has come to mean to so many people across North America and beyond,” said Oystrick, who cites his own Canadian Junior A hockey coaches as having a huge influence on his life, and on his desire to make a similar impact on players in the league. “I’m thrilled to be here and can’t wait to get started.”