Former SoCal star Beebe sees camps as way to give back
Hockey has always been a huge part of Brett Beebe’s life, so when he reached a point in his playing career when he could see the end approaching, he began to carve a new path for himself in the coaching world.
A forward who grew up playing his youth hockey with the L.A. Hockey Club and California Wave (with whom he won a 16U AAA national championship in 2006), he has parlayed a successful junior, college and professional career into coaching with his Beebe Hockey Camps. Now in their fourth year, the camps are held across the country throughout the summer months and offer a comprehensive camp experience for players to improve their skills and enjoy the game.
“We’re trying to grow the game in small markets, and I think that has worked well for us,” Beebe said. “I’m not trying to compete with camps in Minnesota, Michigan or areas like that – they already have great coaching in those places. We’re trying to bring a great staff of coaches to these smaller markets that might not necessarily have the resources that they need, but that still have a huge demand for good hockey and good coaching.”
Beebe, a 26-year-old Redondo Beach native who recently signed on as the head coach of the 16U AAA team with the California Titans in Simi Valley, runs the camps alongside co-owner Troy Bodie, who logged more than 150 NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, and now scouts for the Leafs.
“I had been working a number of camps, and some of the parents saw the attention to detail that I put into it and suggested that I put on my own camps,” said Beebe, who started Beebe Hockey Camps the summer after his senior year at Western Michigan University. “We did a three-day clinic that first summer with about 20 kids, and I learned how to handle all the administrative things that go into running camps in addition to the coaching.
“We made it a little bigger the next year and the following year, I expanded to some of the other places that I had played. This year, we’ll be in seven cities and are expecting about 300 kids.”
Beebe Hockey Camps are scheduled to be held in Park City, Utah (June 27-July 1); Kalamazoo, Mich. (July 18-22); Nashville, Tenn. (July 25-29); Waterloo, Iowa (Aug. 1-5); Pelham, Ala. (Aug. 6-7); and Lakewood, Calif. (Aug. 15-19).
While the coaching staff for the camps varies by location and depends on the dates and availability of coaches, Beebe ensures that all camps are staffed with skilled and knowledgeable coaches to guarantee that players get the most out of their experience.
Drawing on relationships developed throughout his career in hockey, he has assembled a lineup that this year includes Bodie, Zach Bell (ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears), Daniel Gentzler (Colgate University, SPHL’s Macon Mayhem, ECHL’s Elmira Jackals), Troy Power (University of Massachusetts, ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs), P.J. Musico (Penn State University, ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits), Daniel Sova (Michigan Tech University, ECHL’s Evansville Icemen, assistant coach with USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks) and Nick Lazorko (Castleton State College, SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers). Most of the camps feature an appearance by a player with NHL experience.
After college, Beebe played for the Ontario Reign, Bakersfield Condors and Fort Wayne Komets in the ECHL and the Pensacola Ice Flyers in the SPHL over the course of two seasons. After wrapping up his playing career by playing the 2015-16 season in Germany, he now has more time to dedicate to coaching and building his business.
“I love having the opportunity to challenge kids to try new things at the beginning of a camp, and maybe it’s a struggle for them at first, but by the end of the camp, they’ve figured it out and get really excited about it.” Beebe said.
– Greg Ball