The Chicago Hitmen has announced that Brent Agrusa has been named the team’s new head coach. He replaces Steve Pronger, who guided the club during its inaugural 2010-11 season.
No stranger to the North American Hockey League (NAHL), Agrusa served as the head coach of the Helena Bighorns from 2002-05 guiding the team to the playoffs in each of his three seasons behind the bench. Most recently, he was the head coach Kenai River Brown Bears during the 2008-09 season.
“Brent’s extensive knowledge of the player pool and his experience in the NAHL is what I hope will help us be a competitive team in the future,” said Hitmen owner and president Mark Hammersmith. “We felt a change was needed to help us acquire the right players for next season and beyond.”
This season, Agrusa, from Utica, Mich., led the California Stars’18U AAA team to a Pacific District regional championship and an appearance in the USA Hockey National Tournament.
“Being back coaching in the NAHL and in the Midwest close to my roots has been a dream of mine, and I couldn't be happier to do it in Chicago working with the Hammersmith family,” said Agrusa. “They’re great people who have supported hockey and its growth for a long time. I know we’ll build the Hitmen into one of the premier programs in the league.”
Agrusa’s coaching and management resume also includes time in the Central States Hockey League - now the North American 3 Hockey League - with the Metro Jets; Northern Pacific Junior Hockey League with the Queen City Cutthroats; and Continental Hockey Association with the Hampton Roads Whalers.
In addition to coaching the the Stars, Agrusa also has a wealth of experience behind the bench at the AAA level with the Detroit Falcons, Michigan's Belle Tire and Kentucky’s Mid South programs.
Over the course of his coaching career, Agrusa has helped develop and advance dozens of players to the junior, collegiate and professional ranks.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)