Youth Coaches Must Not “Lose the Room”

With over fifty games remaining and a .500 record through the first thirty contests, the Ottawa Senators elected to fire Head Coach Paul MacLean on the first day of December.  MacLean is the first and only NHL coach to be relieved of their duties this season. The media suggests he lost the ear of the locker room.

Blame it on the Canadian hockey market or MacLean’s farewell address, but this coaching change speaks volumes about the psychology of a dressing room and as to why we can’t stop talking about it.  MacLean’s fallout in Ottawa sheds light upon the dynamic of the working relationships between a coach, its players, and the team collectively.

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Ask Around: Practice Drills Need Maintenance

“The best coaches never stop learning or experimenting.” This is a piece of advice I received during my first coaching stint at a youth summer hockey camp just north of the Pocono Mountains in Lakewood, Pennsylvania.  Camp Weequahic athletic director Scott McNevan, who has coached collegiate soccer, as well as youth lacrosse and hockey, instilled in me a drive to continually question my rink-time management and never stop asking myself: what more can I do for these young players?

ArrowsFreeport Arrows hockey director Chris Hogan always ponders this looming question. A proud coach, Hogan believes talking with other coaches is a useful tool, especially when practices don’t yield results. “It’s good to keep our practices fresh, but I could care less about that. I need our practices to enhance our players and team play.”

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USA Hockey Wants Well Rounded Athletes

Courtesy of USA Hockey , this video aims to raise awareness about modern sports psychology developments. Explained by the likes of Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, Vancouver Canucks Assistant coach Mike Sullivan, and USA Hockey, American Development Model Technical Director Ken Martel; the NHL’s next lot of prospects are not your typical 12-month round hockey players.

“The model that has been proven to have success is early-generalization, where athleticism is developed in multiple sports, and then as you get older you start to specialize in a specific sport” – Mike Sullivan, Vancouver Canucks Assistant Coach

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5 Friendly Reminders that you are a Parent, not a Coach

Coach Jim Traynor, that’s him with the “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe;  that picture was taken over 25 years ago. The clever sign on the right was taken this past weekend, while Traynor was traveling with his 14-and-under youth hockey team in Eastern Canada, he posted the photo to his Facebook page.

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The sign says “Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful,  a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting.” Traynor said “every parent needs to read and understand this”, and he’s dead serious. The writing is literally on the wall, if this isn’t a reality-check for the most intolerable parents, then here’s five more. Continue reading


Your Playing Days are Over- Time to Coach?

Just because you played the game, doesn’t necessarily mean you can coach it. But, that’s exactly what happens, at the NHL level down to the floors of collegiate roller hockey. Athletes call it quits and quickly suit up into different organizational roles, namely coaches.

Former backup goaltender Kevin Mashavejian, now newly appointed Baruch roller hockey head coach, is a classic example of a player turned coach. Ready for the challenging adjustment from goaltender to head coach, Mashavejian says he’s already learned a lot about his team, citing the tryouts and ECRHA preseason as important assessment tools.

I sat down with the rookie coach to find out what he had learned about a hockey preseason and how he transitioned from playing to coaching.

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The Best Hockey Skaters: Start Early and Skate Often

All hockey players have their own, unique mobility on the rink; frequently referred to as their skating. Tommy Keane, a 20 year veteran hockey instructor, has a passion for guiding youth hockey players to find their own, unique skating form. Keane recognizes the importance of developing good skating habits early in youth hockey; perhaps the greatest challenge is the balancing act a child must uphold to grasp the games finer points while learning to skate.

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