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BRAMPTON, Ont. - The Brampton Battalion has added former National Hockey League defenceman Drake Berehowsky to its coaching staff, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Thursday.

A first-round pick, 10th overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Berehowsky talked to Stan Butler, Battalion director of hockey operations and head coach, about pursuing a career behind the bench.

"He's in a situation where he wanted to get involved with coaching," said Butler, who added Berehowsky to a staff that includes fulltime assistant coach Kelly Harper as well as assistant coach Gord Smith and goaltending coach Mike Tamburro.

"His career is over, and he had a good one, but now it's time to get on to the next stage of his life. We've had a longtime relationship. Drake played against me when I coached minor hockey. I've known him since he was nine, and he wants to see if coaching is for him. Any time you can add a guy to your staff like him, who's played in the NHL, it adds great value to your team.

"He's played for a number of different coaches and he can bring a good perspective. For our young defencemen, they can look at a guy like him who has played in the NHL and know that's what they want to aspire to. Hopefully he can give them some insight on how to achieve that."

Berehowsky, a Toronto native who turned 35 Wednesday, played 549 games over 13 seasons with the Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. Last season he played 18 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and 19 games with the Berlin Polar Bears of the German Elite League.

Butler said he knows that Berehowsky will face an adjustment period.

"As a player, you worry about taking care of yourself. As a coach, you have to worry about taking care of everybody. That's the biggest adjustment for any player who wants to become a coach.

"But Drake's a very intelligent guy, and at first he'll come in and observe and see what needs to be done. As he gets more comfortable I'm sure he'll convey more and more to the players all the time."

Berehowsky, who won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's most outstanding defenceman with the North Bay Centennials in 1991-92, played four seasons in the league with the Kingston Raiders and Frontenacs and North Bay. He'll return to the OHL on the bench with Butler and Harper when the Battalion visits the Kitchener Rangers at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"It's no different being in the minors and getting called up to the NHL," said Butler. "Drake wants to get started, and there's no better time than tomorrow night. Kitchener is a very good team. They'll be one of the favoured teams heading into the playoffs. We're a team right now that's trying to find a way to secure a playoff spot."

Fans in the Brampton area can see the game live on Rogers Cable 10.
 
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