The last time I was behind a bench was 2008. During that time a lot has changed in the coaching world and the world in general.
I received a call from a lifelong friend and coaching associate and was asked if I would be interested in assisting him in coaching a team whose coach was recently dismissed. He told me it would be to the middle of March if everything played out perfectly. Hey, six to eight weeks I can handle that. He gives me a little background on the physical tools, which I admit I liked the sound of .This is where the story begins.
When we first walked into the dressing room the first thing I noticed was how young they looked and how old we must have looked to them. Doing the math in my head I soon realized that there was a fifty year age gap. Hell, we could be their Grandfather! After a quick introduction, we headed onto the ice for practice. The amazing thing was it was like time travel when we walked through the gate. It was like Fields of Dreams, when Doc crosses the baseline to help the choking child.
As we put the boys through their paces I was impressed with the speed at which they skated. They were so fast for such a young age. However, what they lacked was intent.They seemed to be more interested in going fast,rather than knowing where to go. We were also not impressed by the noise and velocity when they passed the puck and the general lack of communication between players. There was nervous talk, but no engagement between players. These symptoms caught our attention and lead us to ask some questions.
After speaking with club officials and a couple of parents, the Coaching staff came to the conclusion that the group had some serious confidence and trust issues and were basically a broken team. Our challenge was not a 100% hockey related. The head coach is an elite coach, with 45 years of experience at all levels and someone who knows how to win. Our challenge was can we put this broken group back together in six to eight weeks with a 50 year age gap between us.
I suppose we could have gone through the motions for six to eight weeks and basically been caretakers. However, we are not wired that way, regardless of how old you are. We viewed this as an opportunity that not many people get. Time to show the coaching world that two senior citizens still “got game”
Until next time!
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