The Minnesota Wilderness have announced that Brett Skinner has been promoted to become the team’s new head coach.
David Boitz announced today that he is officially stepping down as head coach to focus solely on being the team’s GM, and is elevating Skinner from associate head coach to become the 5th head coach in the franchise’s NAHL history.
Skinner, a Brandon, MB, native, was hired in August and quickly convinced Boitz that he could handle the role of head coach.
“Brett is going to be an outstanding coach for our program,” said Boitz. “His ability to teach in practice and create an environment for our players to learn and develop is exactly what we were looking for in a coach. I have no doubt that Brett beginning his head coaching career with the Wilderness will be a start to a very long and successful coaching career. We are fortunate to have Brett and are very excited for the future of our program.”
Prior to being hired by the Wilderness, Skinner was an assistant coach with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for five seasons and worked under head coaches Scott Owens and Marty Murray. Skinner was part of the Stampede staff that won the Clark Cup in 2019.
“I would like to thank the Wilderness owners and GM Dave Boitz for giving me this opportunity,” said Skinner. “I’m excited to be a part of the process of the player development of the athletes that pass through the Minnesota Wilderness organization. Building off my time working under two great coaches in Scott Owens and Marty Murray I’m excited to not only grow as a coach but pass on the experiences I’ve gained in coaching and my playing career.
Skinner had a very successful playing career. His 12 seasons included a stint in the NHL with the New York Islanders, an AHL Calder Cup championship with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and a European pro league title while playing in the Czech Republic. He also won two national championships in college with Denver University.
Boitz took over as head coach for the second time in his tenure with the Wilderness prior to the 2021-22 season. He guided the team to a spot in the 2022 Robertson Cup playoffs, where it was eliminated in the 2nd round by the Anchorage Wolverines. Boitz also led the team during the 2018-19 season.
Skinner’s first official game as Wilderness head coach will be this Wednesday, when the team opens its NAHL Showcase schedule vs. the Shreveport Mudbugs at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN.