BROOKS, AB (July 18, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) have announced that Assistant Coach Nick Prkusic will be leaving the team to pursue a playing career in professional hockey.
Prkusic played three seasons in Brooks, winning two AJHL Championships, the second as the team’s Captain. Following his Bandits playing career, he played and went to school at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, where he played four years.
After spending the 2021-22 season as a coach with Prairie Hockey Academy in Caranport, SK, Prkusic re-joined the Bandits as an Assistant Coach in the summer of 2022.
“Being able to return to Brooks to coach was an incredible experience. From the relationships built with the players and staff, to going on our National Championship run, it was truly an unforgettable season,” said Prkusic.
“The decision to move on was difficult, but when the opportunity to go play again came up I couldn’t pass on it. Being able to add professional playing experience will allow me to live a lifelong dream, but also allow me to learn everything that comes with pro hockey. I can’t thank Ryan (Papaioannou) enough for the chance he gave me, and I look forward to following the Bandits in their pursuit of a 4th consecutive National Championship.”
The Bandits finished the 2022-23 Regular Season with an AJHL-best 53-5-2 record, winning the 2023 AJHL and Centennial Cup Championships, the team’s third straight.
“Having Nick join our staff last year was a tremendous help to our success. After coaching him for three years and now having him work for me I can say that he is an intelligent hockey mind with passion for the game,” said Bandits Head Coach and GM, Ryan Papaioannou.
“He developed throughout last season as a young coach and is well set up to re-join the coaching ranks after playing professionally. He is at the age where he must take this shot at playing before he’s been out of the game for too long. We are very understanding of his passion to compete in pro hockey and want to thank him for his efforts last season and wish him the best, hoping we will have him back in Brooks once again.”
The Bandits thank Nick for his contributions and wish him the best moving forward. The team will announce a new assistant coach later this week.
The Bandits are participating in the U20 Super Challenge in Karlstad, Sweden from August 15th to 20th. Training Camp will begin on August 26th, with the Exhibition Season opening on September 5th at the Centennial Regional Arena vs Okotoks.
2023-24 Season Tickets are on sale, call 403-501-0122 for more information.