The Ontario Reign announced a new addition to their coaching staff Wednesday afternoon with Adam Brown joining the staff as the team’s goaltending coach. While he’s technically never been part of the staff officially, Brown is no stranger to the Reign coaches’ offices, having spent the last two seasons as part of the LA Kings goaltending development staff.
In his now former role, Brown joined the other Reign coaches at events like Development Camp and the annual Rookie Faceoff at the beginning of training camp. He made occasional visits to practice in El Segundo and even showed his face on the road at times, like when the team was in Abbotsford last season as it was driving distance from his home in British Columbia.
Brown was another voice for the goaltenders in the organization along with Matt Millar, who is now in the position of North American Goalie Scout with the Kings, and would check in frequently with the netminders at both the AHL and ECHL levels while also assisting in a scouting role.
During that time, even from afar, Brown respected the relationships the other coaches on the Reign staff had with each other. So much so that when he was asked what he was looking forward to most about his new role, he didn’t hesitate before answering that he couldn’t wait to be part of the staff.
“The most special part for me is the group that’s there,” Brown said. “I’ve been able to be around the coaching staff for the last couple of years and it’s a really tight-knit group. I’m very fortunate to be part of that and the camaraderie within the coaching room while also extending my career a bit further with the LA Kings.”
While he didn’t have the most accomplished playing career, primarily spending time in the ECHL with 78 games played in the league over four seasons, he returned to a familiar spot after his days in the net ended with a short run in one of Sweden’s pro leagues during 2015-16.
Brown began coaching in the same place he played his junior hockey, Kelowna, British Columbia, in a dual role as the team’s goaltending and video coach. He spent five seasons on that staff before joining the Kings before the 2021-22 campaign.
Now his new position will have him back in a role he’s familiar with, being part of a team’s core staff that’s trying to win games every night.
“That’s one thing that I was really missing over the last couple of years is not being with a team full time, not having that staff relationship and that day-to-day back and forth. The good, the bad and the in-between of the season is a really exciting piece for me moving into this year.”
As he continues to develop his voice, Brown doesn’t have to look too far to get advice from another coaching mind, as his father Newell has been an assistant on an NHL bench for the last 26 consecutive seasons and is already in Southern California with the Anaheim Ducks.
Brown said his style tends to be more of a collaboration with the goaltenders throughout the system.
“I’m not out there dictating every little thing they should do,” said Brown. “I want to talk through things; I want to watch video. I want to hear what they have to say and what they see within their game. Then I want to come to a solution together.”
Over the past two seasons, Brown has formed a tandem along with the other two goaltending coaches in the organization, Millar and Bill Ranford, helping as another former goalie for players in the system to discuss things with. He’s worked with some who are still around like Pheonix Copley and Jacob Ingham, as well as others who have moved on to other teams like David Hrenak, Lukas Parik and Matt Villalta.
Now, with an influx of new netminders coming into the organization this season like Ryan Bednard, Erik Portillo and David Rittich, Brown will work alongside Mike Buckley, who was hired as the Kings’ primary goaltending coach in June, to help them reach their potential. It’s an important time for the position, as any one of the goalies in the system could emerge and command playing time at the NHL level like Copley did last season. But there also isn’t a clear long-term plan for the team at the position, as none of LA’s goaltenders are signed past 2023-24, although Portillo will be an RFA and the Kings have the option to retain his rights.
“I think as a goalie coach you have a lot of answers, but you don’t always have all of them,” Brown said. “A lot of the time you get them through learning from your different goaltenders and what they see and they bring to the game. I think being a goalie coach isn’t like a dictatorship, but it’s a lot of collaboration with the goalies and then finding that balance if we need to step in and kind of lay down the law a little bit or be a little more firm with your coaching.”
Although he didn’t have much of a previous relationship with Buckley coming in, Brown knows that they’ll need to be in constant communication throughout the season. He’ll also be another coach to learn from, as Buckley has previous experience working with both an NHL team directly as well as in a development role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Buckley was a part of that organization as a goaltending development coach from 2013-17 during two Stanley Cup wins in 2015 and 2016 and then with the NHL staff as a goaltending coach from 2017-21.
Buckley was also once in Brown’s current position, having served as the goaltending coach for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons for two seasons from 2010-12.
“I’ve had a chance to meet with Bucks a decent amount, I was in LA looking for a place and through our Zoom meetings and things like that,” Brown said. “I’ve been able to get to know him quite a bit and I’m really excited to continue building that relationship because he really brings a lot to the game both on the ice and with the mental aspect of the game. That’s something I’m really excited to continue learning from him and I think that relationship is just going to continue growing stronger throughout the year.”
Brown is extremely passionate about hockey, goaltending and the work that he gets to do each day. He does whatever he can to connect with people on a personal level, and frequently takes his netminders outside of the rink for a meal or another activity, attempting to learn more about them and their interests.
A glance at his Instagram profile illustrates that personality, not just from looking at the photos or videos he posts, but what he has written in his bio: ‘Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing.’
That’s the type of energy the rest of the team can expect from Brown, whether that’s his fellow coaching staff or the players filling out the roster.
“I like to bring positive energy. I’m upbeat, I am excited to be there and I think that’s something that our players will get to notice for practice or around the room is that I like to bring that positivity and energy each day.”
Off the ice, it shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment for Brown to get used to the weather in the LA area. Even before he found a home here, Brown immediately went out and purchased a new bike and could hardly wait to explore.
“I ride my bike to and from the rink and everywhere I need to go,” Brown said. “Not having to get in the car to drive and deal with the traffic, the stops and starts and mostly the gas. I’m looking forward to having that fresh ocean breeze in my face and the fresh sea air coming in.”
Brown will be a welcome addition to the Reign this year and his work with the goaltenders will be vital to the team’s success as they look to move up in the standings in their second year under Marco Sturm, but it will also be important to the Kings, who are looking to develop more prospects in the net for the future.