Your 2019 / 2020 Jr-A Valley Wildcat Coaching Staff
Brandon Benedict – Head Coach & General Manager
Brandon is entering his first season as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Wildcats organization in 2019-20. He played his entire major junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads followed by a four-year university career with the Acadia Axemen. His pro career saw him make stops in Texas, Denmark, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Nottingham England. His love for the game was evident at every level Brandon played, and he looks forward to bringing that love for the game, along with his reputation as a digger and a hard-working mentality to his new position. His experience as an assistant coach with the Belfast Giants of the EIHL will certainly be an asset for the Avondale NS native.
Brian Birkhoff – Assistant Coach
Brian was hired in the off-season and is launching his coaching career in the Valley after a successful run as a player.
The Richmond Hill, Ontario native played with the Ottawa 67’s and Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League and Gatineau Olympics of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2008-11. A defenseman, Birkhoff also skated for five seasons at Ryerson University, where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce (Law) degree. Upon graduation, he spent two years playing professionally in Europe – Sweden in 2016-17 and Denmark last season. Birkhoff will work primarily with the Wildcats defence.
Brian resides in Halifax with his girlfriend and works at marine supply store when he’s away from the rink. When time permits, he enjoys boating, water skiing, snowboarding, golf, lacrosse, cooking and listening to vinyl records. He lists The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young and Bob Seger as some of his favorite musical acts.
Evan Mosher – Goalie Coach
Mosher, who backstopped the Acadia University Axemen to an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) title in 2014, will work with the Wildcats’ junior, midget and bantam goaltenders.
The Conception Bay South, Newfoundland native played parts of five seasons with the P.E.I. Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2006-11. However, Mosher is mostly remembered by Valley-area hockey fans from his goaltending days with Acadia, where he played three seasons and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting) degree. Upon graduation, he spent four years playing professionally in the ECHL (Quad City Mallards), France and the last two seasons in Denmark, where he was teammates of newly-named Wildcats assistant coach Brian Birkhoff. Mosher also played under Wildcats head coach Travis Young, when the latter served as Acadia assistant coach.
In addition to playing major junior, university and pro hockey, Mosher has spent the last 12 summers instructing young goalies at summer hockey schools in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Now residing in Halifax, Evan enjoys fishing, golfing and spending time with family.
Mark Francisco – Athletic Therapist/Equipment Manager
Born and raised in London, Ontario Mark holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Applied Health Science in Athletic Therapy from Sheridan College.
Mark began his career in the Ontario Hockey League – first as a student therapist with the Guelph Storm and then the assistant equipment manager with the Mississauga Steelheads. He has also served as a therapist with the Canadian men’s Olympic soccer team.
Mark lives in Centreville with his girlfriend Jenny and enjoys referring soccer or volunteering with Football Nova Scotia.
Sam Foster – Director of Player Personnel
Born in Halifax, raised in Antigonish and back living in the capital, Sam joined the Wildcats last season and is tasked with drafting and recruiting players for the Wildcats.
Sam has seemingly been around the MHL forever but estimates he’s spent 30 years in scouting and player development, the bulk of that time spent with the now defunct Antigonish Bulldogs. He’s also served in a scouting capacity with the Campbellton Tigers and Truro Bearcats, in addition to a stint in the QMJHL.
An ironworker in his day job, Sam and his partner Felicia have two sons Michael and Matthew.
Nick Greenough –
Nick has been with the Wildcats franchise since its inception, serving as Head Coach and General Manager for the club’s first four seasons before relinquishing coaching duties to Travis Young last season.
As a player, the Windsor native was a product of the Valley Wildcats major midget program before embarking on a four-year stint in the QMJHL split between the Val-d’Or Foreurs and Halifax Mooseheads. Undrafted by an NHL club, the aggressive forward attended big-league training camps of the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild while enjoying a six-year minor professional career, spent mostly in the American Hockey League and ECHL.
After his playing days came to an end in 2007, Nick launched his coaching career with the Valley Wildcats midgets, leading the team to a berth in the 2013 Telus Cup national championship. Moving up the ladder to the junior ranks, Nick was named Maritime Hockey League (MHL) Coach of the Year in 2015 and was head coach of Team Canada East at the 2016 CJHL Top Prospects Game in Surrey, British Columbia. He was also a member of the Maritime Hockey League (MHL) coaching staff in a pair of Eastern Canada Cup tournaments (2015 and 2016).
Nick’s tireless work ethic and knowledge of the game have enabled him to be extremely well respected in player development. He has helped numerous players move on to the major junior level and collegiate ranks in both Canada and the United States.
Nick resides in Avonport with his wife Jenn and three boys Jaxon, Tripp and Jett.