BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – The Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, are proud to announce that well-known local coach and longtime professional player Justin Peca has signed a contract to become the club’s new Assistant Coach effective immediately.
Peca, 47, brings a plethora of amateur and professional hockey experience to Beast bench. As a player, he played three seasons in the NCAA with Michigan Tech before embarking on an impressive 12-year professional career, which included stops in the ECHL, numerous leagues in Europe and multiple international appearances for the Italian National Team.
Following his playing career, Peca’s love and passion for the game never waned, leading him to a successful career as a coach. From 2007 to 2013, Peca could be found coaching in all areas of junior hockey, including stints as Head Coach and General Manager of the Villanova Knights of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) from 2007 to 2009, as Assistant Coach of the Streetsville Derbys (OJHL) from 2009 to 2011 and again as Head Coach of the Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL).
In recent years, Peca has been lauded as a skills coach and has assisted in the development of several high-profile young hockey players, the likes of which include up-and-coming defenseman Travis Dermott of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as well as Edmonton Oilers First Round NHL Draft selection Darnell Nurse.
The Toronto native is entering his first season as a full time professional coach and is excited to get the 2017-2018 ECHL season rolling.
“I’m extremely excited [to be in Brampton],” Peca said. “It’ll be a challenge, but it doesn’t scare me. To be coaching at the pro level, I’ve been dying to be here for a while.”
Peca’s specialization as a skills coach with a focus on solid on-ice positioning caught the eye of Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk, leaving the Beast bench boss excited about adding Peca’s dynamic and unique skillset to the coaching staff.
“He’s a proven skills coach, Chaulk said.
“From adolescents to professional hockey players to NHL players,” Chaulk said. “If you make the individual better, you’re going to have a better team. So for him to be able to offer that to our players is something I’m passionate and excited about.”
Peca enters the Beast organization at an exciting time following last season’s record-breaking campaign, which included shattering numerous team and individual records and the club’s first ever berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
While he may not have all of those same core pieces in place to start the upcoming season, Peca stressed the importance of team building and player development in order to achieve the same level of success for the upcoming year
“Development in every single game [is crucial],” Peca said, “I like to take it one game at a time and hopefully we’re better every week we step on the ice.”