It has been a journey that has come full circle for the assistant coach of the Drumheller Dragons.
In his first year behind the bench, Kenton Levesque is relishing his role as the Dragons assistant coach. Joining the team at the start of the 2018-19 season, he has been working closely with head coach, Kevin Hasselberg, focusing on the defensive aspects of the game to help elevate the team into second place in the AJHL South Division standings.
The Ponoka, Alta. native is no stranger to the Alberta Junior Hockey League, or the Drumheller valley. In fact, he spent his entire junior career playing on the very team he now helps coach and was even named the team’s captain during his tenure.
Already actively involved in coaching in the Midget AAA level in Cochrane after his playing days, Levesque maintained a deep desire to someday return to the valley to work in hockey in some capacity. So it was a no-brainer when he got the call from Dragons GM, Kevin Hasselberg, during the summer asking if he would be interested in returning to Drumheller as an assistant coach.
It was his former Dragons coach, Dan Price, who inspired Levesque to pursue coaching and he credits Price with instilling the passion for the little details that make the game so great.
“I just fell in love with the details, so I wanted to give back,” Levesque recalls. “I wanted to find some way to give back to the younger players after my playing career. So I found a home in Cochrane and I started coaching Bantam hockey and went up to minor midget AAA and spent a couple years there, so I just got the warm feeling of making people around you have fun and enjoy the game and help them pursue hockey at the high levels.”
Evolving from hockey player to hockey coach is a fairly common transition. For Levesque at least, returning to his former team in a suit and tie was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but has ultimately been an exciting and rewarding experience. According to him, it’s been an amazing learning opportunity as well, one that he has embraced completely.
“The amount of preparation that goes into everything, you don’t understand it as a player as much,” explains Levesque. “Then when you come and you’re a coach it’s like, we’re at the rink all the time, we’re watching video all the time. You don’t stop thinking about hockey which I love, that’s why I did it. So that was a little eye opening at first, but I’ve just really enjoyed my time here so far.”
Levesque suited up for 134 regular season games with the Drumheller Dragons from 2008-2012. He won the team’s ‘Hardest Working Dragon’ award in back-to-back years, the only Dragon player to ever win the award twice in succession.