Connecticut Whale general manager Bray Ketchum today announced that the NWHL club will be led behind the bench by head coach Colton Orr and assistant coach Laura Brennan. Orr is a veteran of 477 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Brennan played collegiately at Quinnipiac and Minnesota State, and has been a goaltender and coach with the Whale for the last two seasons.
“I’m really proud to announce this dynamic duo of coaches for the CT Whale,” said Ketchum. “I was blown away by Colton’s commitment to women’s hockey and the NWHL as we discussed the head coaching role throughout the summer. He has a specific vision for the Whale and incredible enthusiasm, and I know he will help take our team to the next level. Laura has immense passion for the game, is an outstanding teacher, and is very highly-regarded in our organization and around the league. She is an NWHL veteran who’s going to be a strong asset for our team.”
Brennan will serve as interim head coach while Orr completes his commitment to the CBC Television program, “Battle of the Blades.” During Orr’s time in Canada for the show, he and Brennan will collaborate on practice plans and strategy.
“I look forward to working with Colton to help the players continue to develop and compete at the highest level,” said Brennan. “I can’t wait to see all of Cetacean Nation cheering us in our new home, the Danbury Arena. #finsup.”
A native of Winnipeg, Orr was one of the NHL’s toughest players during his 12-year career. He amassed 1186 PIM along with 12 goals and 12 assists and battled in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is an active member of the New York Rangers Alumni Association, working with the Rangers to promote youth hockey in the tri-state area and representing the team recently at the New York City Pride Parade. He is also the proprietor of the Colton Orr Hockey Academy at Danbury Arena and a co-owner of the Danbury Colonials (NA3HL).
“I’m honored to have the privilege of leading the Connecticut Whale,” said Orr. “This game means a lot to me, and these fantastic athletes on the Whale and across the NWHL are role models to the next generation – including my daughter, who is in the Learn to Play program. I’m determined to take all of the hockey knowledge and life lessons learned from great NHL people like (former Rangers coach) Tom Renney and apply them to the Whale. I’m grateful to Laura Brennan for running the show while I’m away, and I can’t wait to get back to Connecticut to work with her and the players and give the Whale fans a team they can believe in.”
Photo Credit: Bryan Johnson