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Obituary: Junior hockey coach Brad Tippett put players first

Brad Tippett’s career as head coach in junior hockey included 5 ½ seasons with the Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Brad Tippett, former head coach and director of hockey operations for the Peninsula Panthers, had a unique way of measuring progress in junior hockey. He asked parents to take a video of the first game of the season and then of the last game of the season and to note the difference.

“I asked him what he did best as a coach and he replied: ‘I teach,’” said Panthers owner Pete Zubersky.

The approach worked in a head coaching career for Tippett in junior that included 5 ½ seasons with the Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, being named VIJHL coach of the year once, and three seasons as head coach and director of hockey operations with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League from 1989 to 1993. Tippett was also a former head coach and GM of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL

Brad Tippett — brother of former NHL Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett — died Saturday at age 64 in Sidney. No cause of death was disclosed.

“Brad was the most passionate hockey guy I know. He absolutely loved the game,” said Zubersky.

“He told me the worst day doing anything else went away and got immediately better when he got to the rink and then it became the best day.”

Zubersky said Tippett and Grant Gilberston, the 18-year-old forward of the Panthers who died in a car crash on his way to practice in January of 2022, were very close.

“Brad never coached again,” said Zubersky, noting that Tippett stepped away from the Panthers midway through the 2021-22 season following the accident.

Tippett played for Terry Simpson’s national Junior A powerhouse Prince Albert Raiders and later in the NCAA for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He earned a double-major degree in accounting and finance from Michigan and was vice-president and associate portfolio manager with RBC Dominion Securities from 1993 to 2012. He later branched out on his own and in 2014 became president of Tippett Wealth Consulting and Tippett Financial Services. He continued working in financial services in Sidney.

The Tippett brothers started out as youth soccer stars in Regina with Brad playing for Canada U-16 while a young Dave was chosen to put on a display of dribbling at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. They both later chose hockey as their main sport.

“There was something nagging me to give back once more,” Brad Tippett told the Times Colonist, when hired by the Panthers in 2016.

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