Branham replaces Kevin Colley, who resigned last month to pursue other opportunities.
Branham, 32, joins the Grizzlies from the ECHL’s Reading Royals; who in June won their first Kelly Cup Championship by defeating Stockton four games to one. Overall, Branham spent the last four seasons as an Assistant Coach in Reading where the Royals were 143-89-23 in the regular season, won seven playoff series and captured two division championships with him on staff. During the last four seasons, Reading led the Eastern Conference with 163 wins and was second overall in the entire league behind Alaska’s 172 wins.
The Grizzlies will formally introduce Branham to fans and media at Maverik Center at an event during the month of August. Branham and his wife Nicole are currently in the process of relocating to Utah.
“Tim helped implement a winning culture in Reading that ultimately led to a Kelly Cup Championship,” said Bruder. “He is very well regarded around the ECHL as a bright young coach with high energy. It was more a matter of where then when for his first head coaching job and we are very excited to have him in Utah. He has a very bright future ahead of him.”
This past season on their way to the league’s championship, Reading led the Eastern Conference with a record of 46-19-3-4 and a 16-6 mark during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Branham, a native of Eagle River, Wisconsin, played 284 professional games in the ECHL and AHL during his playing career from 2002-2010. A defenseman, he was selected in the third round by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
"I would like to thank Grizzlies Owner Dave Elmore and Kevin Bruder for this opportunity,” said Branham. “This is a first class organization with top notch facilities. My wife and I are thrilled to move to Salt Lake City and join the Utah Grizzlies family. I look forward to building an exciting team for the fans."
While in Reading, Branham’s responsibilities included overseeing the defensemen and penalty-kill. In 2012-2013, the Royals ranked second in the ECHL allowing just 28.89 shots-per game. Reading also was amongst the league’s elite in goals allowed, placing third and allowing just 2.57 goals-per-game. Their penalty-kill also ranked third in the league at an 84.9-percent clip. During their just completed championship run, Reading led the ECHL by allowing just 2.05 goals-per-game in the playoffs.
In addition, since 2003, Branham has owned and operated Branham Hockey Camps in Wisconsin. The school, for youth hockey players, has multiple locations in the Midwest. While Branham was in Reading, over 70 Royals advanced to the American Hockey League.
Branham becomes the seventh coach in team history. The Grizzlies are the fifth ECHL team this offseason to announce a new Head Coach. Stockton is the only other team with a current opening.
The Grizzlies open the regular season Friday, October 18 against Idaho at Maverik Center at 7:05 p.m.