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Brewer excited for coaching role with Utica Comets

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
email / twitter
Posted 10/6/22

Andrew Brewer is making a new transition as a hockey coach. Like some of the Utica Comets players he is helping guide as one of the team’s newest assistant coaches.

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Brewer excited for coaching role with Utica Comets


UTICA — Andrew Brewer is making a new transition as a hockey coach.

Like some of the Utica Comets players he is helping guide as one of the team’s newest assistant coaches, he’s learning the ins-and-outs of his position and moving to the Mohawk Valley. 

He has three boys who play hockey, with each playing in the Utica Jr. Comets program. 

“Utica has been a fantastic transition for me and my family. I’ve been excited to get going with the organization,” said Brewer, who was announced by the parent New Jersey Devils in his new role joining Ryan Parent as an assistant on the bench with head coach Kevin Dineen in August. “It has been a fantastic learning curve. I’m excited to get going.” 

The 36-year-old Brewer considers himself as “another part of the community” as he gets settled in. Utica has preseason games at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Syracuse and at 5 p.m. Sunday at Rochester. Utica begins its 10th regular-season next weekend. 

“It is an exciting thing to come to a place like this and a great organization with a great fan base,” Brewer said. “We have a lot of people excited about the team and the organization. They’ve made our family feel welcome. We’re looking forward to giving back and being part of the community.” 

Brewer comes to Utica with plenty of experience as an NHL video coach with Detroit (2014-15) and Toronto (2015-16 to 2019-20), largely under well-known coach Mike Babcock. He also worked with Babcock when Hockey Canada won gold at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. He spent the last two seasons as the Florida Panthers’ video coach and worked with Andrew Burnette, the new Devils’ associate coach. 

He has a different role with Utica. Brewer will work with the team’s forwards and the power play, which was fifth-best in the American Hockey League last season at 21.6%. Clinton native Josh Gagnon is the Comets’ video coach.

“Hopefully, we’re trying to give those guys the opportunities to have as much success as possible,” Brewer said. “As coaches we’re just trying to make sure the players have what they need to accomplish what they need to accomplish.” 

Brewer acknowledges there will be a learning curve, though he’s excited.

“It is my first experience on the bench,” Brewer said. “I get to learn from a veteran coach in Kevin Dineen who has got a lot of experience. I hope to learn a lot from him. We have some veteran players and I hope to learn a lot from them. Obviously, Ryan Parent has been great. I want to learn as much as possible and try to find how I fit in with my background and experience.”

The Comets’ roster will continue to evolve as the Devils assign players to reach a 23-man roster before the regular-season starts.

The coaches’ goal during the first week in Utica has been evaluating and teaching. Utica will likely send some players to ECHL Adirondack to start the season. 

“We have a short window to try and get our team selected as well as try to teach our systems and how we want to play and attack the season. We’re trying to fit in as much as possible,” Brewer said. “It is a mix of teaching and trying to get pace and get guys up to game speed.”

Up next

Syracuse at Utica

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Where: Adirondack Bank Center.

Broadcast: None for Utica.

What to know: It is the only home preseason game for Utica. The team said it will have a plaza party for fans from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Adirondack Bank Center.


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