“The drills you’ll see here today are a few we’ll do in a battle day with our team and our guys like it a lot.”

When Nathaniel Brooks presented at TCS Live in Ann Arbor this past June, he was an associate coach with the Ryerson University Rams. In July, Brooks was hired as Skill Development Coach with the Arizona Coyotes.

We can’t confirm his involvement with TCS Live showcased his vast coaching knowledge to the world and led to his NHL promotion, but we can definitely speculate that’s the case! Just kidding. The timing is purely coincidental.

Back in September 2021, Brooks participated in the first year of the Coyotes’ coaching internship program that provides young diverse hockey coaches with opportunities to learn and develop by working directly with the Coyotes coaching staff during Development Camp. 

He turned heads at Coyotes camp, as he did at TCS Live.

Brooks, who was previously an assistant coach for Ryerson from 2014-2019 and was also a development coach for the Rams in 2019, has been a skill development coach for 15 years. His drills are tight, progressive and do just as intended: improve the quality and skill of players doing them.

During TCS Live, Brooks took to the ice for a 20-minute presentation all about creating space to optimise puck possession in the offensive zone. 

“At Ryerson with our team, we talked a lot about winning second man races,” Brooks explains. “If we’re going to do that to be able to make plays, it’s vital that the first puck touch we come out with possession and the opportunity to make a play.”

It’s all about creating opportunities, and learning how to do it in a way players enjoy. 

“The drills you’ll see here today are a few we’ll do in a battle day with our team and our guys like it a lot.”

More on Brooks:

He started his junior hockey playing career with the Markham Waxers in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) where he played two seasons. After being drafted by the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Chicago Steel in 2004 as their 101st overall selection, Brooks played a season with the Steel before returning to Canada to play with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Oshawa Generals in 2005-06. The following season, he split time between the Generals, Aurora Tigers and Vaughan Vipers.

Following his junior career, Brooks joined the York University Lions where he majored in English. He played three seasons from 2007-10, playing in all 28 games each season and totalling 80 points. An assistant captain for the Lions, he made the OUA West all-rookie team in his first season.

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