Industry Profile: Brent Gough
Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Position/Organization: Owner, West Coast Elite Hockey
Arizona Rubber: What is West Coast Elite Hockey?
Brent Gough: West Coast Elite Hockey is a company I started last year to help high-level youth hockey players reach their goals of playing junior hockey and college hockey. Players, coaches and parents can find out more about us at www.WestCoastEliteHockey.net, on Facebook at West Coast Elite Hockey and on Twitter at @WCEliteHockey.
AZR: What does WCEH offer for players?
BG: Right now, my focus is on our first camp. From June 25-28, we’re offering a Junior Exposure Camp at AZ Ice in Gilbert, Ariz., that will provide exposure to top college and junior coaches for highly motivated players from the 1996-2000 birth years and future prospects from the 2001-02 birth years. We’ll have coaches there from all levels of college and junior hockey – NCAA Divisions I-III, USHL, NAHL, WHL, BCHL, AJHL and SJHL. Players will get 10 or more hours of on-ice instruction and evaluation with the coaches, plus fitness testing and off-ice training every day and a camp T-shirt and shorts. The cost is $600 per skater and $650 for goalies. With the great lineup of coaches we’ll have there, I think it’s a pretty good value.
AZR: Do you have any coaches committed yet?
BG: We do. We started in January by announcing one coach each week, and we’ll continue to make those announcements on our Facebook page every Monday throughout the winter and spring. Our first committed coach was Nigel Dube, an assistant coach and assistant general manager for the Minot Minotauros of the North American Hockey League. Our second was Ben Murphy, who has been an assistant coach at Bentley University for the last seven years.
AZR: What do you think will make this camp different from others?
BG: I know there are other camps out there that provide exposure to college and junior coaches, but I felt like there really wasn’t one in Arizona that was providing opportunities for advancement. I’m hoping to have four teams for the 1996-2000 age groups and two teams at the 2001-02 age group. I don’t plan to do any coaching myself, but plan to bring in at least 10 coaches from all the top leagues and some college coaches so we can have two coaches per team running the camp. They’ll run practices during the mornings, then the players will have off-ice workouts, and we’ll have games at night. I think the good thing about it is that the coaches are on the ice with the kids, rather than up in the stands watching. I want to create that experience where the kids and coaches can get to know each other. The coaches will get to see the kids’ character and build relationships throughout the week. Hockey is an expensive sport, and to be able to provide kids here with an opportunity like this in their own back yard – where they don’t have to fly somewhere, pay for a hotel and deal with other expenses – is a pretty big positive. I’ll limit the number of players, so it won’t be overcrowded. I want to make sure that every kid gets a good amount of ice time and exposure.
AZR: What’s your background in hockey, and how did you end up in Arizona?
BG: I grew up in Alberta, Canada and played for four years at Merrimack College outside Boston. I played professionally for five years in the United Kingdom and then served as a coach and general manager in the BCHL for five seasons before moving to Arizona and doing some work with Ron Filion and the Arizona Bobcats. My wife is from Prescott, and we moved here last June.
AZR: Do you foresee WCEH expanding in the future?
BG: Yeah, I might look at putting together some teams of older players to go play tournaments in the spring and summer. We’re really just getting off the ground now.
– Compiled by Greg Ball