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Central California Life Magazine

New Fresno Monsters Head Coach Talks Drive & What it Takes to Go Pro

Nov 08, 2016 09:30AM ● By Melanie Heisinger

2016 Home Opener. Photo courtesy of the Fresno Monsters Facebook page.

The Fresno Monsters is a local hockey team that has been taking the area by storm every year since 2009. The Monsters is a fierce Junior A team of 16-20 year-olds looking to professionally play hockey. 

According to their website, "The Fresno Monsters are an Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned Tier II ice hockey team based in Fresno, California. The team is a member of the Western States Hockey League and plays in the Western Division. The Monsters' home venue is Gateway Ice Center in Fresno, California."

Their new head coach, Kevin Kaminski, has a rich history in hockey himself, and was a big part of the minor league system in the early '90s to his retirement in 2000. After that, he focused his energy on coaching and has been bringing his knowledge to young athletes ever since. The Fresno Monsters' hiring staff saw what a great opportunity having someone with his experience would accomplish and sought him out immediately. It's only a few weeks into the season, but there are high hopes for the team's future. 

We were able to get in touch with Kevin to learn more about this season, as well as who to look out for. 

Tell us a little bit about the team. How long have they been in Fresno? 

The Monsters are a Junior A team from 16 - 20 year olds.  They are all looking to get a scholarship in Division 1 or Division 3, or are looking to turn pro at some point.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your role there? How long? 

The Monsters' new head coach
in his playing days,
Kevin "Killer" Kaminski.

I have been here two weeks now after packing up the U-Haul from Lafayette, LA. I drove 30 hours for this great opportunity to coach and develop these hungry young men and to bring them to the next level. I am also excited to be a part of a GREAT organization that thrives on work ethic, winning and a rich tradition in the community of Fresno.

I'm a small town boy from Churchbridge, Saskatchewan Canada, a population of 900. 

I moved away to Saskatoon when I was 15 to pursue my career in hockey. I played for the AAA Midget Blazers, and then 3 years in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Saskatoon Blades. I felt I was never supposed to get drafted, as I was "too small" and couldn't skate well enough.  

Despite all my setbacks, I was drafted 48th overall to the Minnesota North Stars, where I played my 1st NHL game at 19 years old at the Montreal Forum. It was pretty cool! That place is where Canadians play every Saturdayon Hockey Night in Canada.

From there, I was traded to the Quebec Nordiques and played only 5 games with them. I was then traded to the Washington Capitals, where I played 3 and a half seasons. I won a Calder Cup in 1993-94 with Capitals farm team with the Portland Pirates in Maine, which was an amazing experience. 

In 2000 I retired, mostly due to multiple concussions. I've been coaching since. My 1st coaching job was in the American Hockey League (AHL) with Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (Anaheim and Detroit's minor league team) under Mike Babcock, who is one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League (NHL) today.

My role here is to win, but more importantly develop these fine young men into better players and people both on and off the ice. I hope that I can help them learn how to be a pro, as well as be accountable, through discipline and work ethic -- skills for when they move onto college or go pro.  

Tell us a little bit about this season. What is the expected outcome of the season? 

Well, I've only been here for 2 weeks, and it's a work in progress. We are 500 at this point (equal wins and losses), but we have a solid team thats learning how to compete and win on a daily basis. We want to continue to climb and make progress to be the highest seed and to hit it on all cylinders going into playoffs to make a run at a Championship.

Are there any standout players we should know about? 
I don't think we have any superstars here, but we have some excellent skilled players in Cody Key, Jacob Rudloff, Jacob Istre, Mike Ballard and Logan Domagala. But what i like best is our character of relentless hardworking players, like Andrew Pellegreno, Nakita Anistratenko, Kolton Huff, just to name a few.

When we have everyone on the same page, we are a very fun team to watch. Just a bunch of lunch-bucket heroes that don't care who gets the points as long as we get the 2 points for the win. They understand that they need everyone to chip in defensively and offensively every night. 

View their full roster here.

Where can someone find the schedule and buy tickets? 

You can find the schedule and buy tickets on line at or you can buy tickets at Gateway Ice Center

Is there anything else that we should know about? 

I just want to thank the organization and the city of Fresno for welcoming me here. I'm very excited to be a part of a rich tradition, and I want to do whatever it takes on and off the ice to make it richer with my experience. Thank you Fresno! 

Welcome, Coach! Here's to a successful season with the Fresno Monsters! 

All photos courtesy of the Fresno Monsters' Facebook page and website