Spartans Hire Roughriders Chaplain To Lead Men’s Hockey Team

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Mark Janzen

May 1, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – Trinity Western University Director of Athletics Murray Hall announced Tuesday the hiring of Saskatchewan Roughriders chaplain Barret Kropf as the new head coach for the Spartans men’s hockey team.

“Today marks a big day for TWU men’s hockey,” Hall said. “Barret is a man who will create a serious buzz around our hockey team, on our campus and amongst the broader hockey community. Our net worth just went way up. He’s a man of great character and high competence and has called coaching at TWU his dream job. I am thrilled that Barret will be joining us as, through our early discussion, it’s evident he’s entirely focused on developing complete champions, both on and off the ice.”

The former ACAC men’s hockey coach of the year, having won the award while with Briercrest College in 2005-06, has worked with Athletes in Action (AIA) for the past nine years and as the chaplain for the Roughriders for the past six years.

Prior to that, he worked with Hockey Ministries International (HMI), coordinating hockey chapel programs in Western Canada, from 1998 to 2003. From 1993 to 1998, he was a youth pastor in Melfort, Sask. and Estevan, Sask.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Kropf said. “It’s a great school that has a strong tradition with its sports teams and I’m excited to come in and humbly stand on the shoulders of those who have paved the road before me. I’m looking forward to building upon the foundation that has been set with the Spartans men’s hockey team.

“When my wife and I visited the school, we were impressed with the people we encountered. They were genuine people who we think will be great to work with. It was obvious that everyone is pulling the rope in the same direction in terms of integrating faith into athletics.”

After growing up playing minor hockey in Estevan, Kropf’s playing days saw him reach the Junior “A” ranks where he played in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for the Estevan Bruins and the Melfort Mustangs. While with the Mustangs, he was part of the 1991-92 SJHL championship-winning team.

Shortly after his playing days were over, Kropf moved behind the bench and has now been coaching for nearly 20 years in a variety of capacities.

Most recently, Kropf worked with the female hockey program at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask. This past season, he coached Notre Dame’s team in the Junior Women’s Hockey League, which is the top junior female league in North America. Prior to that, in 2011-12, he helped guide Notre Dame’s midget AAA female team to a provincial championship. On the men’s side, in 2007-08, he also served as an assistant coach with SJHL-playing Notre Dame.

Kropf has twice been the head coach for the Saskatchewan U18 Female team, in 2007-08 and in 2010-11. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Briercrest Clippers from 2004 to 2006.

Along the way, Kropf has also spent time coaching in the Czech Republic. Working with HMI, he and his family moved to the Czech Republic in 2002-03. While there, he had the opportunity to be an assistant coach with HC Hvezda Praha. During that year, he also helped coach with the Czech national female team development program. After moving back to Canada, his connections in the Czech Republic led him to be named an assistant coach with the Czech Republic’s U18 national women’s team that won a bronze medal at the 2008 U18 World Women’s Championship.

Over the past 19 years, Kropf has worked at countless hockey camps across Canada, USA, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic for HMI and AIA. He has also been the head coach for several men’s elite teams, which largely include CIS and NCAA players, which have travelled on overseas ministry trips to Russia, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Kropf has a Certificate of Biblical Studies, which he earned from International Bible College in 1998, and has also taken a variety of courses at Briercrest College in the sports ministry program.

He has also authored a book, “Home Away From Home,” which tells the stories of the billet families within the world of junior hockey.

He is married to his wife Bridget and they have three sons, Jalen, 19, Joshua, 16 and Jacob, 12.

Kropf replaces former head coach Dwayne Lowdermilk, who led the Spartans for the past three years.