Sam Klassen took over the Head Coach role for Briercrest Men’s Hockey in April 2022. Klassen took over the role from Brad Cole who was head coach for the previous three seasons.
Cole, who guided the team to unprecedented playoff success in the 2021-22 season, expressed his excitement for Klassen taking over: “When you invest three years into something, you first want to make sure it’s being taken over by someone who has passion and excitement for Jesus Christ, secondly, to see men continue to be led to understand who the Lord has created them to be, and third, to see on-ice excellence. Sam is that man! He led me to begin my relationship with the Lord 11 years ago, and if you have spent any time with him, you will know his heart is to faithfully serve the Lord. Sam’s attention to detail is something I admire and will serve the program really well. He is very relational and has the ability to cast a vision for what the next step is with the hockey program.”
Klassen brings a wealth of experience to the Briercrest Hockey program, from having a very successful playing career. He played his junior hockey in the WHL for the Saskatoon Blades. Klassen then embarked on a professional hockey career after signing an entry level contract with the New York Rangers. He played several years of professional hockey in North America, before finishing up with three years of pro in Germany, competing in the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga).
Previous Men’s Hockey Assistant Coach, Matt Melo, who was also a key part of leading the program to new heights from 2019-2022, also highly endorsed Klassen: “Sam is such a perfect fit to be the next guy to take over the program”, said Melo. “Sam is a special hire. He combines a passion for the Lord with a professional hockey resume. A fresh perspective with a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading. The program will continue to build upon the momentum generated from past year’s success under Sam’s leadership.”
Klassen and his family moved to Caronport in the summer of 2021 to take on a Head Coach role with Prairie Hockey Academy. He was a fantastic addition to the PHA coaching staff, but felt called to pursue the opportunity to coach at the college level, which led to him being hired as the Briercrest Men’s Hockey Head Coach when Cole stepped down to focus more full-time on his honey farm in Manitoba.
Stan Peters, Briercrest Athletic Director, shared his excitement about the new head coach when he hired Klassen in April 2022: “Sam brings his many gifts and experiences to the hockey program, and we are excited about how he will continue to build on the great foundations that have been laid for the past number of years.” Peters continued, “Most importantly, Sam has a passion for his relationship with Jesus and for building into the lives of young men through hockey. He will do an amazing job of carrying out our Briercrest Athletics purpose of ‘Transforming lives towards their God-intended purpose’, through our Niche of ‘Using the pursuit of athletic championships in our unique Briercrest training ground to: Grow disciples of Jesus; Form transformational leaders of character, Inspire graduates, and Develop skills for sport and life’.”
Klassen is grateful for the ongoing support in his new role from his amazing family: his wife Jaylin, and their two daughters, Avi and Kate, and their son Jace. He is also grateful for the opportunity in front of him: "I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity to join the Briercrest Athletic Department and more specifically, Briercrest Hockey. This program had an exciting finish last season and I look forward to building on that. My goal is to continue building a highly competitive hockey culture while providing a transformational college hockey experience, all within Briercrest Athletics’ Core Focus of ‘Transforming lives towards their God-intended purpose’.”