EDMONTON, AB - Before he stood behind the bench for the Michigan Wolverines as an assistant coach for seven seasons, Brian Wiseman excelled as a player over four years in the NCAA for that very same university.
"This place has been a special place to me," the new Oilers Assistant Coach said Tuesday to Bob Stauffer and Oilers Now on 630CHED. "It changed my life when I decided to come here in 1989 and enrol as a freshman in 1990. It's a special place and a place I believe in with what the university provides our kids and our student athletes."
The 5-foot-9 centre amassed 249 points (97G, 152A) in 166 games from 1990-94 in Michigan colours before making his name in the professional ranks most notably with the Houston Aeros before the turn of the century in the International Hockey League, where he'd encounter Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett for the first time as a player under the now-Oilers bench boss.
"I love offence. I love being creative," Wiseman said. "That's kind of how I tried to play when I could play, but I love where the NHL game is today. In its most recent years it's been fast, you have to think fast, you have to play quick, and you have to make plays. It certainly is attractive with the guys who are in Edmonton now.
"To work alongside Dave, Glen, Dustin, Jeremy, and obviously having Ken lead the way, it was certainly attractive and something I was going to listen to when Dave called me," he said.
Seven seasons as an assistant for the Wolverines gave Wiseman ample opportunity to understand the motivation behind today's player and what makes them successful.
"I was fortunate here to work with kids who are 18 to 23 years old for the last eight years, learning how to develop relationships, understand what different players need, and how best they respond to different types of communication," he said.
"I played for Dave in the '90s in Houston, and he was one of those coaches back then. He had the ability to communicate with his players, get the most out of his players, and he commanded a lot of respect from his players because of the relationships he built with each and every one of us."
The 48-year-old joins an Oilers team loaded with young, explosive talent, and believes his coaching style that's evolved from his playing days in Michigan is well-suited for the modern NHL's trend towards speed and skill.
"It's exciting to be a part of this development process with these guys."