“I feel for these kids, I had to take it to the next level and find another family/ownership group that we can turn around and make this franchise the best of the best,” Ollech said. NanaimoNewsNOW.
Ollech, a longtime Nanaimo resident, said he will play a supporting role for the Bucs in the future, primarily helping with game night operations at the Nanaimo Ice Center.
After living in Germany for several years, Branbenburg wanted to become more involved in hockey in Canada.
“I decided to come back to my home country and there was an opportunity to buy this team and I’m so lucky to be involved in ice hockey again,” she said.
Branbenburg intends to be a long-term owner and said she has the finances to provide continued stability to the organization.
Branbenburg becomes the fourth owner of the Buccaneers, which was established as a model franchise immediately after its inception as an expansion franchise ahead of the 2012/13 season.
After several successful years, the club have fallen on hard times, dropping to just one win in the recent 2021/22 campaign and several different managers.
Hellweger is the current Video Coach and Assistant for BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. He recently secured a home in Parksville and will move to the island permanently after the Coquitlam season ends.
He and his mother are fully committed to immersing themselves in the Nanaimo community by supporting the sports scene and other local causes, Hellweger said.
“She completely embraced it. She doesn’t just want to be the owner who is the owner and that’s about it, she wants to help, she wants to be involved in the community.
Hellweger held his position with the Express for two seasons and has several years of experience coaching competitive minor hockey in the Lower Mainland and at the Banff Hockey Academy.
He envisions a Bucs roster next season heavily involving Nanaimo-based players with a mix of veterans and young players.
“We are coming out of a bad season with just one win, it can’t be worse. It will be a process. If you come here and think you’re going to change everything in two days, you’re wrong.
Hellweger, 28, has experience in the professional ranks as a goalkeeper in Germany.
He said a consistent off-ice schedule will be put in place to give Buccaneers players the best chance to excel at higher levels.
“A lot of players struggle especially at the start in Junior A with the schedule, not necessarily with the speed or the level, it’s more the schedule and the workload they have each day.”
Hellweger said forging strong relationships with Nanaimo Minor Hockey and the BCHL Clippers and many other Junior A teams are priorities.
He said Garrett Dunlop will return as the Bucs’ associate coach next season.
The Buccaneers are scheduled to hold a development camp later this month and an ID camp in June.
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