Anning’s drive takes him in new direction


Advertise with us

David Anning learned a lot riding buses as a hockey coach, knowledge he plans to parlay into a new career.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!

As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.

Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.

Subscribe Now

or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.

Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/12/2020 (840 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

David Anning learned a lot riding buses as a hockey coach, knowledge he plans to parlay into a new career.

Anning and his partner, Jen Pearson, started Compass Coach Lines this fall, with their first trip on Sept. 29. He said the business, which currently has three 56-seat buses and nine drivers, bases its plans on the thousands of hours he spent travelling from city to city.

“It had a big impact on what we wanted our business to look like and how we want to perform our service,” Anning said. “Over the years of travelling on the bus, I paid attention to different equipment, the needs of the passengers and the customers and I also have been inquisitive with bus drivers and company owners and tried to really get a grasp on what the industry is all about. For me, sitting as a passenger on the bus, it really showed me what’s important, and we hope that will translate into the service that we provide.”

The 34-year-old Winnipeg product joined the Brandon Wheat Kings during the 2012-13 season after time in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as a player and later a coach. He spent three full seasons as an assistant coach with the Wheat Kings, and after former franchise owner Kelly McCrimmon was hired by the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights on Aug. 2, 2016, Anning was named the new head coach two weeks later.

After three seasons on the job, his contract wasn’t renewed by the club on June 11, 2019. Anning had other opportunities in coaching, leading to a heart-to-conversation with Pearson about where their future lay as a family.

“Quite honestly, I was at a point where I was ready and interested in trying something new,” Anning said. “We started brainstorming about potential ideas for new businesses and ultimately we came to the motorcoach industry based on my experience having ridden the bus for years and all of our connections in the sporting world, which would be beneficial.”

It also had the benefit of being in Brandon, where the family hoped to stay.

The couple began to quiz people in the industry about the potential venture, and ultimately decided it was a good fit. Brandon Bus Lines and Prairie Coach also operate out of the city, but Anning thought his new venture could offer something a little different.

“We’re trying to provide a luxurious experience for our customers,” Anning said. “We feel that our equipment and our drivers are able to fulfil that for us.”

The buses have leather seats, hardwood floors, and a variety of other upgrades such as USB ports at every seat, an entertainment system with flat screen televisions and individual temperature control and lighting, improvements that were made as the interiors were completely retrofitted.

The pair were initially hoping to launch the venture a year ago, but ultimately decided it would be too rushed. Instead, they let everything play out through the winter, and avoided the spring shutdown after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

With coronavirus part of the new reality however, Anning said his company has embraced the challenge of keeping their buses clean.

“We really try to go above and beyond to ensure a safe environment and to make sure the motorcoaches are sterilized and we follow all safety protocols that are required by the provincial government, as well as Hockey Manitoba,” Anning said. “We’re doing everything in our power to ensure a safe environment.”

Among the teams that have used the company so far are the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives, Dauphin Kings, Steinbach Pistons and Portage Terriers, plus the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League’s Southwest Cougars.

While Compass’s business largely lies in the hockey world right now, the service is available to anyone who needs it.

“It’s for anyone looking for a charter bus with safety and luxury at the top of mind,” Anning said. “As we move forward, our plan is to expand and grow, and explore different opportunities on the tour side.”

Much of the success of the new venture will ultimately rest with the drivers, something the duo was quick to recognize. As a result, they’ve invested time and effort into training their nine drivers.

“We really like our team,” Anning said. “Not only are they all excellent drivers, they’re personable, they’re professional and they’ve really bought into the image brand that we’re after. Between our product and the driver training — we’ve made sure that everyone in our organization understands what is absolutely required of them in terms of customer service — I think we’ve really taken some important steps here right from the start. We’re proud of the services we offer.”

Anning said the early response to the company has been “outstanding.” It all started with that first trip on Sept. 29, with what he hopes will be many kilometres ahead for them.

“It was very exciting, very fulfilling,” Anning said of the initial journey. “It’s been several months of hard word and research and preparation, and we’ve had a lot of help along the way.”


» Twitter: @PerryBergson

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us