VANCOUVER, BC – The Laurier Golden Hawks have a new coach behind the bench, as former Brock Badgers head coach Kevin Forrest takes over the program on an interim basis.
Forrest, who led the Badgers to the Queen’s Cup Final and U CUP quarter-final in 2022, joins Laurier, replacing former head coach Greg Puhlaksi, who had coached the program since 2010.
“We are excited to welcome Kevin to Laurier,” said Acting Director of Athletics & Recreation Kate McCrae Bristol in a press release. “We look forward to strengthening our men’s hockey programming under his leadership and providing the best experience for our student-athletes.”
Forrest has been a familiar presence around Ontario University hockey, playing with the Windsor Lancers before taking on a coaching role with the York Lions in 2008. He joined the Badgers in 2019 as an assistant coach under Marty Williamson before taking over head coaching duties in 2021-22.
Under his leadership, the Badgers eliminated the top-seeded York Lions and fell to the UQTR Patriotes in the Queen’s Cup Final before ending their season with a loss to the Alberta Golden Bears.
Former Union College (NCAA D1) assistant coach TJ Manastersky is the new Brock Badgers bench boss.
Outside of U SPORTS, he spent four seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League from the 2013-2017 Buckland Cup championship and back-to-back Central Canada Region and Dudley Hewitt Cup championships as an assistant coach with the Trenton Golden Hawks.
“I’m very honoured to join the Laurier family and excited to start meeting the players and all the support staff behind the scenes who work so hard to make our coaching jobs possible,” Forrest said in the release. “I’m excited for all the OUA coaches and players around the league to see a return to a normal schedule.”
Laurier is changing course and naming Forrest less than a month before preseason, which has not allowed him to play a part in the recruiting process. However, he will look to deliver what he can with an unfamiliar group.
Looking at the Brock Badgers from 2019 and 2021, the group has overachieved from what they appear to be on paper, and that is a factor Forrest will hope to bring to Laurier. During Puhalski’s tenure, the Golden Hawks never advanced past the OUA quarter-finals.
While the appointment comes late in the off-season, there is potential for Forrest to add a few more pieces ahead of puck drop, particularly highly-sought after players who will seek professional contracts until the last few weeks of fall.
The Laurier Golden Hawks begin the Kevin Forrest era when they drop the puck on the regular season against the Toronto Varsity Blues on Oct. 14.