GIRLS HOCKEY: Peltoma resigns as Flying Warriors’ coach
Charlie Campbell is just eight weeks into his tenure as Brainerd High School activities director, and already he will have to hire his second head coach.
Head girls hockey coach Rod Peltoma submitted his resignation Wednesday to pursue a career opportunity that wouldn’t allow him the time to commit to coaching the Flying Warriors, a cooperative program with Little Falls.
Former girls soccer head coach Sara Rojas was the first coach Campbell had to replace after she submitted her resignation during Campbell’s first week on the job.
“Basically, I have a career opportunity that was presented to me,” Peltoma said, “and I can’t turn it down. It’s just a nice fit, but in taking this career opportunity I’m not going to have the time after school to be at practice, which is probably the most important part, the practices and working with the girls.
“I plan to stay involved. I’ve coached for probably 25-30 years so hockey’s in my blood. My family’s been involved in hockey for years and years and years. I still have a son (Ryan) playing (at Bowling Green). One of the positives about this is I can actually see him play a little bit this year.”
Brainerd was a separate program in Peltoma’s first season in 2007-08 and finished 11-13-2.
In the last three seasons, the Flying Warriors went 36-35-6. Peltoma’s last season was his best. Brainerd/Little Falls won its first Central Lakes Conference championship (10-1-1 mark), advanced to the section semifinals and finished 17-7-2 overall.
“It was a pleasure working with the girls hockey program and coaching for those four particular years,” Peltoma said. “It was a great experience. I developed some great relationships with players and parents and with coaches from other communities.
“I certainly have a lot respect for our hockey program. I think the hockey program we have is definitely on the rise. We have shown some improvement over the years. I just really enjoyed the experience.
“I see a lot of positives with the program and the direction it’s going. They’ve got some good senior leadership this year, and some young players coming up who are good players. It will be fun to watch the next few years.”
Campbell said the opening will be posted on the School District 181 website and on various statewide resources and he wished Peltoma well.
“Obviously, we’re losing a tremendous coach, a tremendous leader, just a good human being, and that’s always a little bit tough,” Campbell said. “Personally, I’m disappointed I’m not going to have the opportunity to work with Rod on a daily basis throughout the winter season.
“As someone who just transitioned to a new position and has found the joys and rewards, I understand and support his decision fully. I’m excited for him and his opportunity.
“Moving forward, we have the position posted. We’re going to look for someone we think can lead this cooperative team forward, continue the growth that we had under Rod’s guidance. That will continue to be important, and we will look for the right leader.”
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.