VANCOUVER, BC – Changes are continuing in U SPORTS hockey.
Three months after Guelph Gryphon’s head coach Shawn Camp left his role for retirement, replaced by Josh Dixon, the STFX X-Men are also making changes, with now former head coach Brad Peddle leaving for an NHL opportunity.
Peddle, who has coached the X-Men for 18 seasons, and won a U SPORTS bronze medal in 2022, will take on an amateur scouting role with the Columbus Blue Jackets but will maintain his role as general manager at StFX men’s hockey.
StFX will now be led by three assistant coaches, with a vacant singular head coaching role. Former York Lions assistant coach Daniel Nikandrov recently joined the staff and will complement experienced assistant coaches Sean Donovan and Dave Stewart.
Donovan and Stweart will assume associate head coach duties.
Through his tenure behind the bench, Peddle never missed the playoffs and made eight U CUP appearances while winning two AUS titles in 2016 and 2017.
“I am very thankful to the administration at STFX to approve this leave, and am grateful to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the opportunity provided,” Peddle said in a release.
“I have full confidence in a tremendous X-Men staff, and the leadership veteran coaches Sean and Dave will provide as associate head coaches, along with the valuable contributions our newly appointed full-time assistant coach Danny Nikandrov will make. It’s a strong group, and I look forward to staying very involved as we look to contend once again in a very competitive AUS conference.”
Nikandrov previously played three seasons with the York Lions from 2017 to 2020 before taking an assistants role on head coach Russ Herrington’s staff alongside former New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks analyst Rachel Doerrie.
Meanwhile, Stewart enters his 14th season with the X-Men, where he played from 1995-1999 before embarking on an eight-year professional career. At the same time, Donovan will begin his 10th year coaching the program, having graduated as a student-athlete in 2011.
“I am fully supportive of Brad pursuing this opportunity as he has earned it,” said StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. “This will be an invigorating experience for him. Our hockey program will be in great shape as I have full confidence in our long-time assistant coaches, Dave and Sean, who will be supported by our newest assistant Daniel Nikandrov.”
The StFX X-Men open their 2022-23 U SPORTS AUS season on Oct. 6 with a visit to the Acadia Axemen, while their preseason sees them visit Quebec to play the Concordia Stingers and OUA champion UQTR Patriotes.