My wife has been encouraging me to be more personal in my blog posts and write more about what I am doing rather than always just writing about what I have been thinking. If you are a regular reader of my blog and website then you probably have pieced this all together but, here goes.
I have just completed my 27th year behind a hockey bench. This season I was coaching my son's Bantam BB team here in my hometown of Port Hope, Ontario. It was a challenging year to say the least. I think it is a tough age group to coach (13 and 14 year olds) and they certainly are developing their own sense of self - trying to find their way through relationships with each other and adults in their lives. I implemented the Torpedo System with them this season which is a little outside of the box. It was met with quite a bit of resistance by both players and parents unfortunately, and maybe to my fault, I stuck with it. Mostly because I believed it was the best system for this team (when we executed it well we were terrific) and there was a part of me that didn't want to back down on what I believed.
That said, it was a fascinating year in minor hockey for me. One that I would love to have a "do over" with as I know I didn't affect the lives of my players in the way that I would have liked to.
My other hockey responsibility this year was serving as video coach for our National Women's Team that competed both at the 4 Nations Cup in Kamloops, BC last November and also at the IIHF Women's World Championship in Malmo, Sweden this past month. It was truly an honour to be affiliated with a program that is truly second to none. We travel with a staff of 17 (coaches, medical, equipment, support) and everyone is an expert in their field and a terrific "team player". What amazes me most about the staff is that everyone "parks their ego at the door" and does their utmost to make the team the best it can be.
Those that follow women's hockey know we were a pretty young team at World's this year with ten players who had never played on the senior team at a world championship before. It was a terrific group of players and the compete level was extremely high all through the tournament. Unfortunately, the team lost to the USA in the final game 7-5 and brought the silver medal home. Disappointing for sure! Our goal is always gold medals at every event (I am sure it is the same for the USA). It certainly continues the great story line of the Canada-USA rivalry. The game was very exciting with the USA up by three goals half way through the game when, in a span of just over two minutes, we came back with three unanswered goals to tie it up at 5-5. It wasn't until inside nine minutes left in the third period that the USA broke in on a two on one and scored what ended as the winning goal. It was a great experience - one that I hope I will have the opportunity to have again.
Outside of these two teams, I also began offering my services as a skills coach to local minor hockey teams. I had the great fortune to work with three teams in the West Northumberland Girls Hockey Association and I truly enjoyed all the sessions I had with them. We worked a lot on scoring goals and the skill that contribute to being better offensively. I found that all the players worked extremely hard, were very coachable and seemed to enjoy the challenges of "playing on the edge" as I ask them regularly to do.
My hockey life has also led me to writing two books this winter. The first was about the Torpedo System that we used this season. I had implemented it before in 2009-10 but I really fell in love with the system this season. It is simple, free flowing, offensively minded and I believe that player's skill level and read and react ability improves immensely. Click here if you would like to learn more about the book. I also digested the 66 drills that I use all of the time. They are drills I have picked up through my playing and coaching career and can be used from the Atom level to the NHL. There are drills for everything and you can read more about the book by clicking here.
Finally, I would love to share more hockey with you as the spring turns to summer and then to next season. You can subscribe to my regular newsletter by clicking here and my website can be found here.
All the best for the coming months.