Beaver Tippett was about eight years old when his older brother Brad gave him the nickname.“He was just trying to embarrass me,” said the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.“I got my front teeth knocked out with a puck and I had no front teeth for a long time until I finally got some false ones put in. He kept calling me Beaver to make fun of me.”Wednesday I asked his 81-year-old mom if she’d mind talking about her son Beaver.“Beaver!” laughed mom Maggie on the phone from Sidney, B.C.“My, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard that name.”At his Tuesday press conference, Beaver made mention of his mom and how excited she was that he was finally going to be working for a Canadian team.“That’s the first time I’ve ever been mentioned on national TV,” she said, and made no apologies for her excitement.“Of course I was excited when I found out he was going to be coaching the Oilers. I’ve been treated very well in Dallas and Phoenix but in Canada, hockey is the No. 1 sport in all of our cities except for the Raptors this week.“For Dave to finally be with a Canadian team is very special to me. I guess I’m a proud Canadian. I think Dave is, too. He’s always maintained his Canadian citizenship. His two daughters both have dual citizenship.”To get to know the 16th head coach of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, it seemed to me, Maggie was as good a place to start as any.“He was a good kid. He got into his share of mischief. He was a going concern. But he was very competitive right from the time he started playing sports,” she said.“It wasn’t just hockey. He was interested in every type of game and sport that was going on when he was little,” said the registered nurse of 45 years who began the family in Moosomin, Sask., relocated to Regina for Beaver’s elementary school years and then moved to Prince Albert where he’d play for Terry Simpson’s Raiders.“He was very good at soccer. When he was 11 he won the Canadian Adidas Soccer Skills Test and he was sent to Paris to compete in the world championship, where he finished eighth.“If you don’t think that’s alarming to watch your child fly off to Paris when he’s 11, think again. But he was well looked after and he came home and had all sorts of interesting stories to tell me about Paris.”Beaver said he hasn’t thought about that in years.“That was a long time ago,” said the now 57-year-old.“I played a lot of soccer. With the Adidas Skills Test, they had competitions within each city, then province and then a Canadian championship. I won that for Canada. That was pretty good.”He’s not sure that was the highlight of his soccer career, however.“I played for the Canadian national U-16 team. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, our team provided the ball boys around the outside of the field. That got me hooked on the Olympics.”His mom said soccer was never No. 1 with the kid, though.“Hockey was always his first love for sure,” she said and allowed everything that followed in his lengthy playing and coaching careers in the NHL seemed to be destined to be from even before he became Beaver.“I think the two boys were eight and six when their dad took them to see their first NHL game in Detroit. They met Gordie Howe and they were just thrilled to bits. They came back with signed programs from him. And right from that time you could see it. Right from when they were young, they both captained teams and were always leaders in the sport they were in.”Brad Tippett would go on to coach the Regina Pats and now has moved to Sidney, where he’s coaching on Vancouver Island.Beaver Tippett said he was delighted with his mother’s reaction to his decision to take this job.“It was a text she sent me the night before. I’d been talking to her a little bit as the Edmonton situation started to come down. I could tell that she was really happy that there was a chance to come back to Canada and the night before the announcement she sent me a nice text about how excited she was. There were a couple of Canadian flags beside it. And actually my little sister Wendy, who lives in Saskatoon, sent me a text, too, that was the same thing. You could tell the whole family was excited.“My parents split up when I was 11 or so. So my mom went to a lot of those cold Saskatchewan rinks.”People may have been surprised to hear Tippett talking about how excited he found himself to be with the prospect of coaching in Canada as well.“In the other markets I’ve been in, as both a player and a coach, hockey isn’t the No. 1 sport. They’re great organizations but not the No. 1 team. Here, it’s the No. 1 team. It makes the fans very passionate and brings a lot of focus on what you’re doing every day. To me, the chance to have that experience is intriguing.”There is no lack of players and coaches in hockey who run away from that and the weather. They like to leave the game at the rink. But Tippett intends to embrace it.“That’s going to be a challenge, I know. But I’m looking forward to that challenge.”There’s a lot of Canadian in Tippett that maybe went unnoticed as he played 721 games over 11 seasons in the NHL with Hartford, Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and made it into the playoffs in eight of those seasons. He’s been a head coach over 14 seasons with Dallas and Arizona, winning the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year in 2010. In all, he coached in 1,114 games and will go into the 2019-2020 season with a record of 553-413-28-102.He’s always answered the call to represent Canada.I go back with Tippett to the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Actually, make that a couple weeks before that when Dave King took the team to what was then West Germany to play three games against Erich Kuhnhackl and teammates in Bavaria.Tippett had just come off a U.S. college career at the University of North Dakota where he won a Final Four and King made him his young captain.“Dave King worked us so hard. We were a bunch of kids over there. We played hard all the time. That was a real tight team. We were living in a hotel together all year, travelling around the world together. It was a lot of fun.”In 1992 Tippett returned to play for Canada in the Albertville Olympics and ended up with a silver medal.“The Olympics were always special but I’ve been involved in several world championships as well,” added the three-time assistant who served as head coach in 2014.Tippett had an exceptionally good record coaching against the Oilers and said as both a player and a coach he enjoyed the games in the Canadian markets.“I remember the playoffs one year when I was playing in Hartford and we were playing the Quebec Nordiques. I was a penalty killer/checker and I was our leading scorer on our team in that series. We had Ron Francis, Sylvain Turgeon and Kevin Dineen. And I remember that I always played well in Quebec.”Tippett said he’s well aware that the Canadian team that finally breaks the drought that goes back to 1993 when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup.“The longer that goes, the team that can do it is certainly going to have a lot of bragging rights,” he said.Tippett, when he isn’t involved in building hockey teams, has built houses and motorcycles.“When we had a couple of lockouts, I was looking for something to do, I built a couple of motorcycles.While coaching is his occupation, Tippett has built houses, including the summer home he and wife Wendy, who has the same name as his sister, spend the summers at in Northern Minnesota.“I owned a construction company for quite a while remodeling houses. One of my grandfathers was an auto mechanic and the other was a carpenter.“I like working,” he explained.Again, there’s lots of work to be done here.Described by general manager Ken Holland as “being hungry,” Tippett believes that to be true. He said that probably showed through in his two meetings with Holland.The first meeting was in San Diego two days after Holland’s press conference here, when he went to watch two playoff games of the Bakersfield Condors. The most recent was late last week in Vancouver, the morning Holland was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.“The last couple of years in Arizona was a struggle there. I decided to take a break for a year. The first year out I enjoyed myself. I played a lot of golf and got feeling good again.“As I started to work for Seattle, I started to get that itch from being around hockey people more.“Then I started following the playoff races coming down the stretch. Then I watched the first round of the playoffs and really started to feel like it was time to jump back in. I’m rested. I’ve watched a lot of hockey. I have a lot of thoughts on things I’ll keep to myself. But I’m excited to get back in. I feel rejuvenated and ready to go full bore.”You could call him an eager Beaver.