Familiar face will join Ramer behind Briercrest Hockey bench
Four year team captain Josh Dufresne will continue to bring his leadership to the Briercrest men’s hockey team for the 2016-17 season as he will be serving as Briercrest head coach Jamie Ramer’s assistant coach.
Ramer is excited to have Dufresne step into a new leadership role with the team.
“I’m very excited to have Josh join our staff team here with the hockey program,” Ramer said. “It feels like a really exciting fit for him and for us as a program as we seek to keep moving forward. Anyone who knows Josh knows that he has a passion for the game. He led by example on and off the ice as he served as our captain and we are very excited to see him take this passion into this new role. His passion to grow in his faith and support our guys in their journeys as well is what makes our program pretty special.”
Dufresne was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba prior to moving to Briercrest at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. He played all five seasons for the Briercrest men’s hockey team while majoring in Biblical Studies.
Dufresne spoke to what brought him to Briercrest originally.
“After graduation from high school I became close friends with my Grade 7 teacher, Corey Willms, who attended Briercrest for two years,” Dufresne explained. “He talked very highly of his experience, as he went there seeking to grow in his relationship with God through the great community and classes offered at Briercrest. This was significant for me as I felt God calling me to Briercrest, but I did not know what I was supposed to take or focus on in my studies. Corey’s perspective helped me to go with an open mind and not worry about what program I should be in. In my first year I took a variety of classes, which all were great, but it became clear to me that Biblical studies was where I wanted to invest most of my time. I desired to focus primarily on learning more about the Bible and how to study it effectively.”
Dufresne explained what he thinks he can bring to the Briercrest hockey team as a coach.
“I think I bring valuable experience from a playing perspective having played in the ACAC the last five years,” he explained. “I know the grind of playing Friday evening and then Saturday afternoon, along with the heavily competitive league that the ACAC is. I believe my Junior A experience was incredibly valuable as well. I played under Blake Spiller who has most recently won back-to-back CJHL Coach of the Year awards, and Paul Harland, who was my defenseman coach. I was fortunate to be a part of two of the six championship titles the Terriers have won under Blake’s tenure since 2006. Through my experience, I believe I learned what it takes to build a team that wins on a consistent basis and has the potential to win a championship. That being said, I know that doing that is easier said than done. Recruiting, particularly at the college level, is so vital because there is no trading like there is in junior or pro hockey. I have limited experience coaching hockey, but I think that my experience and knowledge of the game will definitely help in my transition into coaching.”
Dufresne continued by explaining his coaching philosophy.
“I would describe my coaching philosophy to be heavily weighted on identity,” he continued. “In order for a team to be successful I believe they must understand their identity as a whole, and as individuals. I believe it is the coaching staff’s responsibility to lead in defining a team’s identity as well as the particular roles of individual players. The identity of the team and individuals subsequently needs to fit into the systems that are utilized in order to maximize the potential of the team and the gifts and abilities of its players. When a team has clarity in these matters I think they have the best opportunity to succeed because they know what it looks like to play together according to the identity of the team and the structure that is built around that. This philosophy also breeds accountability between coach and player and among the players themselves, because when roles and structure are clearly defined there is no room for individualism or selfish play.”
The 6’ 3” defenseman explained what excited him about the opportunity to play at Briercrest.
“I am excited to help build the program into a consistent playoff team and, most importantly, I am excited to see the team grow as an intentional place of discipleship,” he explained. “I desire to see each of the players grow in their relationship with God and become passionate followers of Jesus.”
Dufresne explained what a “Josh Dufresne” coached team would look like.
“I hope we all can see it as the Lord’s team,” he said. “I expect that we will all bring ourselves under the authority of our Lord Jesus and seek to glorify him by playing and living for him with passion, intentionality, and joy. My hope and prayer is that we will all grow in our love for Him as we seek to excel in this sport and in our discipleship together.”
Dufresne shared a bit about his family.
“My parents are Penny and Robert Dufresne and I have two brothers, who are two years older (Justin) and two years younger (Jeremy),” he explained. “I was blessed to grow up in a home where I always knew and felt loved, affirmed and accepted. I am deeply grateful for my parents and the values they have instilled in me. I am also so thankful for the strong relationships I have with my two brothers. My family life is going to be changing quite significantly in September when I marry my fiancée, Kaitlyn Sturge. We are very excited about being called back to Briercrest since our graduation in April and the great preparation time this will be for us as we anticipate going into First Nations ministry in the future.”