How I got tricked into coaching hockey

Most of you know that I’m a dad, and a very happy and proud one at that.  I love my children, and spending time with them.  When my oldest asked if he could play hockey this year, we said sure.  I would rather have him play sports than become a vegetable in front of a television or video game.  As most Canadians, hockey is part of life, part of growing up Canadian, and having him show interest on his own was testimony to that.  So we signed him up with the local league ( which for some reason is the most expensive city around, with the some of the least ice time available ), for him to start this past September.

Trying to be a good community citizen, I offered to help when the season started.  Figured I would get on the ice, and help teach these eager young kids how to skate, and why they should love this game that is for so many people a source of national pride.  Well, that first week, there were about as many parents on the ice, as kids.  Now, normally that isn’t much of an issue, but seeing as we had 50+ kids on the ice, that’s a lot of people.  Over the next couple weeks, parents began to dwindle, as they had no interest in being on the ice, they were only there because for 1 of two reasons.  First some parents were slightly over protective, and felt they needed to shadow their children, second some children wouldn’t get on the ice if their parents were there with them.  If I had wanted, this is where i would have exited stage left, but wanting to give back to the city and community i live in, i thought it responsible to offer my assistance.  I have played numerous years of hockey ( which is more than some of the wobbly parents can say, there were days i didn’t know who was more wobbly on their skates, the 4 year old who is just learning, or the parent ).  The director in charge, thanked me for my offer, and informed me that to be on the ice to help i needed my coaches cards ( which makes sense, they want people who understand how to teach kids on the ice ), so he signed me up for the course.

The course itself is a week-end, so it wasn’t a major commitment.  The course consists of 3 parts, an online module about respect ( i.e. how to handle situations ), a health section ( i.e. safety and first aid ), and an actual training aspect ( which included 3 hours of ice time ).  I now felt ready to ASSIST in the molding of these young hockey players.  My plan was to be an assistant this year ( if they were short ) and maybe next year be head coach, to be able to share my learning with those who are starting out.  Unfortunately for me, the administration had other ideas.

The city had registered about 13 people for the course, of which 6 actually went ( some had work conflicts, some never got confirmation,etc ).  So that now leaves us with 6 people holding cards ( Each team is REQUIRED to have someone with their cards at each and every game, otherwise you forfeit ). Of those 6, 3 wanted to coach, and 3 wanted to assist only.  Of those 3, 2 had never played hockey, and this was their “initiation” to kids hockey.  Guess where that leaves me, facing the sentence “If we have to ask you, will you actually do it?”.  Given that situation, I’m now the coach of my son’s team.  I’m happy that I have a couple of assistants, 2 of which were involved with the program last year, but didn’t want to get their cards ( that whole, if you want to be on the ice you need your cards, was a ruse to get people certified to be coach, as they were lacking coaches. )

I’m looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for us.

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Tim Voet has been in the IT industry since 1997. Tim started his career doing tech support and network administration at a large Pharma company. He then spent the next 12 years doing development, leading and managing development teams, mostly in Java, but also some PHP, and Ruby on Rails. Tim has always hands on, and loves challenges that make most people cringe. When he isn't at work, he's spending as much time as he can with his wife and 3 boys. Life can be a busy time with that many young kids. He is currently open to new consulting opportunities, please feel free to contact him with your project information tim - at - timvoet dot com

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