Elsa (Shorey) Bruestle, who played for the White Bear Lake hockey team from 2006-10, is now the Bears head coach.

Bruestle, who has coached Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper the last three years, was named by activities director Brian Peloquin as successor to Jerry Kwapick, who stepped down after 10 seasons.

“We are very excited to welcome Elsa back to the White Bear Lake Community,” said Peloquin, who interviewed four finalists. “It was clear to the hiring committee that Coach Shorey was the best candidate to lead our program.” 

Bruestle said she’s eager to return to team she grew up in. She takes over after a season in which the Bears reached the state tournament for the first time since 2003 but will graduate heavily.

“I know a few of the returning players from coaching them in programs such as Junior Festival and OS summer training,” Bruestle noted. “However, most are new to me. Fortunately I have two members of the coaching staff returning with me next season, which should help with a smooth transition and getting to know the kids.”

Those assistants are Katie Letourneau, who was her teammate with the Bears, and now teaches in the district, and Mark Domschot.

She was Elsa Shorey when she played for Kwapick in U12A, U14A, and his first two seasons at his school coach. They were state champions in U12 and were runner-up in U14.

With the Bears, she played on winning teams her last three seasons (46-26-8), and was one of the top two scorers, along with Emily Green, each year with around 30 points apiece. One special moment she remembers is a goal she scored on which her older sister, the goalie, made an assist.

Bruestle played hockey at Union College in Schenectady, NY, a Division I program in the ECAC. That’s where she met her husband Cal, who played basketball there.

Also holding a masters degree from Hamline, she is currently a Social Studies teacher at Andover High School and has applied for a position at White Bear Lake.

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