Longtime assistant, youth coach, Andy Kurjiaka takes role as coach of BBD boys hockey

Andy Kurjiaka takes on the role as coach of BBD boys hockey program, seen here celebration the 2021 SCC/SWC Division championship.

Andy Kurjiaka takes on the role as coach of BBD boys hockey program, seen here celebration the 2021 SCC/SWC Division championship.

Pete Paguaga /Hearst Connecticut Media /

Work has been busy for Andy Kurjiaka, and taking over as coach of the Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury boys hockey program adds a little to the pile.

“But it’s good,” Kurjiaka said Tuesday.

Kurjiaka replaced the retired Rusty Granacker, the team’s Twitter account revealed late last week. He had been an assistant coach on Granacker’s staff for the past three years and has been in coaching for nearly three decades.

He’s well familiar with the program. His two sons played for Granacker, who’d been BBD’s head coach for 19 years and part of the program for a decade before. Kurjiaka’s younger son, Trevor, scored 104 points and was the co-op’s third-leading all-time scorer. His stepson also played there.

His philosophy, Kurjiaka said: “It’s really the same thing. I want to make a couple of small tweaks.”

He’d like to increase the tempo of practices a bit, but one of his biggest goals is to make sure players from the three schools bond. He’d like to have captains selected earlier to try to work toward that aim.

“My main philosophy is just supporting each other. That’s the main thing, on the ice and off the ice,” Kurjiaka said. “During the COVID years, I seemed to be the COVID police. I was always on the ice 15, 20 minutes later. I would pull (each) line aside and tell them how they could support each other better.”

Kurjiaka said he has been coaching for 29 years in several different programs, like Western Connecticut, the Connecticut Stars (where his daughter played for and the Connecticut Wolves). He also coached his son in roller hockey, taking teams to nationals; “it was a little less competitive, but the talent was really good,” he said.

He had been coaching his stepson in Ridgefield, then took about a year off before joining the BBD staff.

“Being with Rusty the past three years, everything was a no-brainer, he’d been doing it so long,” Kurjiaka said. “I’ve been able to follow his lead on how he does a lot of stuff, scheduling. It’s been a big bonus.”

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; @fornabaioctp