The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have named Brandon Switzer as their general manager and head coach for the upcoming season after “parting ways” with Bill Rotheisler, who led the team for two seasons.
Switzer spent the last season as the assistant general manager and associate coach to Bill Rotheisler.
“Brandon is a promising young coach that proved to us last year that he would be able to excel in this position,” team vice-president Shannon Veitch said in a news release.
“As a board we are confident that he will be able to lead the team to success on the ice and in the community with the values that we feel are important to instill. It was a hard decision to make, but ultimately we look forward to bringing a championship to the valley and believe Brandon will play a big part in that.”
Switzer joined the Cats in 2021 after he finished playing. Originally from Brandon, his Junior A career spanned three seasons where he put up 153 points across three leagues with stops in the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta leagues.
After taking a year off of hockey he walked on to the University of Anchorage-Alaska Division 1 Men’s Hockey team before being forced to retire due to a lingering injury.
Switzer’s first foray into coaching came with the Cats and he says he was able to learn a lot from Rotheisler and his 20-plus years of experience.
“I learned a lot from Bill, he gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door and I’ll forever be grateful for that,” he said in the release
“There are some things you only get a chance to learn through experience and Bill has that in spades. All year I was able to see firsthand what it takes to win in this league and be a successful organization and do things the right way and I can’t thank Bill enough.”
“For me, it’s about finding a combo of skill and work ethic, but having good character comes above all that. Being a Thunder Cat should mean you’re a good person first, and good hockey player second.
“Being able to build a winning team isn’t about having a single, one-off season, it’s building a culture within the whole organization where winning a game isn’t impressive, it’s an expectation. I’m not going to settle for less than that.
“You look at the recent league champions Revelstoke, they bought in from start to finish to a culture of outworking the opponent. I want to get [The Thunder Cats] back to being competitive year in and year out.”
Unusually, Creston started the season in the Eddie Mountain Division before being switched to the Neil Murdoch Division for the purposes of playoff seeding. They finished third with a record of 19-22-1 and then lost to Beaver Valley in the opening round of the playoffs in seven games.