By Martin Martinson / Battlefords Now
NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Battlefords North Stars head coach and general manager, Brayden Klimosko is coming off a week to remember in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was presented the award as 2023 Canadian Junior Hockey League Coach of the Year.
Stepping off the plane onto the cobblestone walkways of the city streets in the home of country music, it didn’t take long for the Stars’ bench boss to get acclimated to his new surroundings.
“We saw the sights, ate some food down there, and I’ll tell you… the food there was unbelievable,” he said of the experience. “It was cool to relax, get to see a different culture and atmosphere, and I loved every minute of the experience just enjoying the town.”
Klimosko spent a week in Nashville from June 28 to July 5, though it didn’t take even 24 hours for him to experience firsthand just why it’s called ‘Music City.’
“The first night of the draft they had a concert right on Broadway and it was just full of people downtown,” he said. “Everything about the town seems like a real party type of atmosphere, and just enjoying the town was pretty neat.”
Klimosko was presented with his Coach of the Year Award on the eve of opening day of the 2023 NHL Draft, at a Coach’s Conference, run by NHL coaches and attended by those across the profession from the high school level, to U18, and even up to the World Junior ranks.
“It’s a really good conference, there’s about 700 different coaches there and I learned lots,” Klimosko said of the experience. “In my group, I had the World Junior coach from Sweden, so they had coaches from all different levels, and it was pretty cool to get to learn from the best.”
From there, Klimosko, who was accompanied on the trip by assistant coach Garry Childershose, then got to take in the draft, as the pair got to see first-hand the next generation of NHL stars take the stage and fulfill their dreams of being drafted to the National Hockey League.
Klimosko was then joined by his family as well, who made the trip out June 30, to enjoy the rest of the week together, seeing the sites and taking in all the city has to offer.
He said following the Coach’s Conference and Draft experience, the cherry on top was being able to enjoy the fourth of July festivities together in the city.
“We had to stay for July 4,” Klimosko said with a laugh. “We had to take in the festivities there, and it was pretty cool seeing the fireworks there and everything.”
Klimosko, added that having Childerhose alongside him for the whirlwind ride of the week was also a big highlight, as being able to share the trip together made it all that it was.
“It was awesome for Chilly and I, for him to get to experience it as well,” Klimosko said. “One person doesn’t just win an award like [Coach of the Year]. It’s your team, it’s your staff and it would have been nice to invite everyone because it is a team award, so it was nice to get to celebrate it with a teammate.”